Washington: Scientists have revealed that the best view of Leonid meteor shower will be before the dawn of November 17.
According to the editors of StarDate magazine, though the meteor shower would be "streaky," this won't be one of its better years, as the partially illuminated Moon will wash out some of the meteors. Even so, the Leonid meteor shower should produce a "shooting star" every few minutes.
The best view would come in the wee hours of the morning when the shower's namesake constellation climbs into view - Leo, the lion. If the paths of the meteors across the sky were traced, they would all appear to come from Leo.
The meteors are created by bits of rocky debris from a comet that orbits the Sun once every third of a century. Earth intersects the trail of comet dust every November. The bits of debris ram into the atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles an hour. They quickly vaporize, forming the glowing streaks known as meteors.
The trail is clumpy, though, with the biggest clumps near the comet itself. So every time the comet streaked through the inner solar system, the number of meteors go up. Some years, the Leonids can produce hundreds of meteors an hour.
And some years, the Leonids produce not showers of meteors, but storms, as was the case in 1833, when so many meteors had streaked across the sky that their light woke the sleeping Americans.
While the upcoming meteor shower won't be one of those great years, it would still be worth a look as it reaches its peak in the wee hours of Monday and Tuesday.