This article was contributed by community member David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.
On the night and early morning of Nov. 17-18, the Leonid meteors will show off for us. Mostly a weak shower, but at times could feature brief outbursts that one would not want to miss.
The Leonid meteors come from the comet 55/Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years this comet passes through the inner solar system and sheds new filaments of debris, adding to the general meteor stream. When Earth encounters one of these dense new filaments we can get a very strong display of “shooting stars” (if you want to call them that).
The skies should be excellent for the show until the waning gibbous moon pops up in the picture early in the morning, which just happens to be the best time to view the shower. And of course barring any problems with Mother Nature. All you need is your own pair of eyes, some warm clothing and you are ready to go. Get on the internet and find the location of Leo the Lion, that is where the showers will emanate from. Unfortunately the moon is only 20 degrees to the west of Leo blocking out most of the smaller meteors. Give it a try and take a look, you just might be surprised.
Nov. 17: Leonid meteor showers peaks
Nov. 19: Last quarter Moon occurs at 1:11 p.m.
Nov. 20: Moon is 4.3* degrees south of Mars
Nov. 20: New Moon
Nov. 20: Moon is 5.3* degrees south of Jupiter
Nov. 21: Moon is 4.9* degrees south of Venus
Nov. 23: Moon is closest to Earth (perigee-227,867mi)
Nov. 24: Moon passes 4* north of Mars at 1 a.m.
Nov. 24: Venus passes 1.4*south of Jupiter at 6 a.m.
Nov. 24: Moon passes 1.9* north of Mercury at 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: New Moon occurs at 7:06 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes .7* north of Jupiter at 3 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes 1.9* north of Venus at 11 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes .9* south of Saturn at 1 p.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes 0.5* south of Pluto at 8 p.m.