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2016 Leonid meteor shower

The Leonids will peak on the night of November 17 and early morning of November 18 in 2016, just 3 days after a Full Moon.

Illustration image

The Leonids peak around mid-November.

The Leonids can be seen by Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers.


We suggest that observers try their luck after nightfall on November 18.

The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November and usually peaks around November 17 or 18. The shower is called Leonids because its radiant or the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo.

The Leonids occur when the Earth passes through the debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The comet takes around 33 years to make one orbit around the Sun.

People can view about 20 meteors an hour at the peak of the Leonids meteor shower.

Where to View the Leonids

The Leonids can be seen by viewers from both hemispheres.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower, astronomers suggest lying down on the ground and looking at the sky between the East and the point right above you to view the Leonids.

When to View the Leonids

The best time to view the Leonids is after dark, but a bright Waning Gibbous Moon may make it difficult for viewers to see many meteors.

Location in the Sky

The Leonids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Nov 17, 2016; the table below is for that date:
Leonids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between Nov 17 and Nov 18)
Midnight Thu-Fri69°East-northeast9.0°
Fri 1:00 AM77°East-northeast20.2°
Fri 2:00 AM86°East31.7°
Fri 3:00 AM96°East43.4°
Fri 4:00 AM108°East-southeast54.8°
Fri 5:00 AM127°Southeast65.3°
Fri 6:00 AM161°South-southeast72.3°
Note: times are for Nov 17, 2016.
Set your location

How to Watch Meteor Showers

  • Check the weather: Meteors, or shooting stars, are easy to spot, all you need is clear skies and a pair of eyes.
  • Get out of town: Find a place as far away as possible from artificial lights
  • Prepare to wait: Bring something to sit or lie down on. Star gazing is a waiting game, so get comfortable.

Topics: Astronomy, Meteors, November, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere

In This Article


Meteor Showers Library

  1. October 2016: Orionids
  2. November 2016: Leonids
  3. December 2016: Geminids
  4. December 2016: Ursids
  5. January 2017: Quadrantids
  6. April 2017: Lyrids
  7. May 2017: Eta Aquarids
  8. August 2017: Perseids
  9. October 2017: Draconids

What is a Meteor Shower?

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