In 2018, the Leonids will peak during the night of November 17 and the early morning of November 18.
We suggest you try your luck after midnight during the night between November 17 and 18.
The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November and it 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.
You can see about 20 meteors an hour when the the Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak of activity.
Where to View the Leonids
The Leonids can be seen by viewers from both hemispheres.
While it is not necessary to look in any 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.
What Time Does the Meteor Shower Peak?
The table is updated daily and shows the position of the Leonids radiant in the sky for the upcoming night. Use the date drop down above the animation to change dates.
|Leonids meteor shower for Washington DC (Night between November 17 and November 18)|
|Sun 12:00 midnight||69°||8.7°|
|Sun 1:00 am||77°||19.8°|
|Sun 2:00 am||86°||31.4°|
|Sun 3:00 am||96°||43.0°|
|Sun 4:00 am||108°||54.4°|
|Sun 5:00 am||127°||64.8°|
|Sun 6:00 am||160°||71.9°|
|Sun 7:00 am||205°||71.4°|
Direction to see the Leonids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north; a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.
How to See the Leonids
You don't need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. Even though all you really need is a clear sky, lots of patience, and our handy meteor shower animation with a visibility conditions meter to see a meteor shower, the following tips can help maximize your shooting star viewing experience.
- Find a secluded viewing spot, away from the city lights. Once at the venue, your eyes may take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to the dark.
- Dress for the weather, and make sure you are comfortable, especially if you plan to stay out long. Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair with you—meteor watching can be a waiting game.
- Once you have found your viewing spot, lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant. Use the meteor shower animation or the table above to find the current direction of the radiant in the sky.