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2014 Leonid meteor shower

The Leonids will peak on November 16 and November 17 in 2014. A waning crescent moon means that the sky will be dark enough to easily view the shower. We suggest that observers try their luck in the early morning of November 17.

Illustration image
The Leonids peak around mid-November.
The Leonids can be seen by Northern and Southern Hemisphere observers.
©iStockphoto.com

The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November and usually peaks around November 16. 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 – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors. 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 just after midnight and right before dusk.

Location in the sky

The Leonids meteor shower is not visible at this time of year. The best date is around Nov 17, 2014, table below is for that date:
Leonids meteor shower for New York (Night between Nov 17 and Nov 18)
TimeAzimuth/
Direction
Altitude
Mon 11:00 PM62°East-northeast1.5°
Midnight Mon-Tue71°East-northeast11.7°
Tue 1:00 AM80°East22.6°
Tue 2:00 AM89°East34.0°
Tue 3:00 AM100°East45.3°
Tue 4:00 AM113°East-southeast56.2°
Tue 5:00 AM135°Southeast65.7°
Tue 6:00 AM170°South71.1°
Note: times are for Nov 17, 2014.
Set your location

How to view the Leonids

There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Leonids:

  • Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
  • If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
  • Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you - viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
  • Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.

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

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All about meteor showers

  1. A handy guide to meteor showers
  2. May 2014: Camelopardalids
  3. October 2014: Draconids
  4. October 2014: Orionids
  5. November 2014: Leonids
  6. December 2014: Geminids
  7. December 2014: Ursids
  8. January 2015: Quadrantids
  9. April 2015: Lyrids
  10. May 2015: Eta Aquarids
  11. August 2015: Perseids

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