The annual Leonid meteor shower will peak twice in the next five nights. The first peak is expected to be Saturday, November 17. The second peak is possible on Tuesday, November 20. The Leonids, while not the most spectacular meteor shower, may deliver 10-20 shooting stars per hour. The Leonids are so named because they appear to radiate from the constellation Leo which will be seen in the eastern sky after midnight. The meteors, some caused by dust the size of grains of sand, are from debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle on it’s once every 33 year path through the solar system.
This year the moon will have set long before the best viewing hours after midnight, so the sky should be sufficiently dark to see whatever meteors streak across the sky. Of course, it’s imperative that there are no clouds, and the forecast for Southern New England is for clear to partly cloudy skies. The highest odds of clouds are in far Eastern MA. The best way to view the meteors is to get as far away from any light source as possible. Bundle up if you’re heading into the countryside, the temperature will likely be in the 20s to low 30s between midnight and dawn Sunday. Grab a friend and a sleeping bag or two and head out after midnight. Give your eyes a chance to adjust to the night sky, look up, relax, and enjoy.