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The Leonid Meteor Shower

The Leonid Meteor Shower
The Leonid Meteor Shower

On November 17th, 2009, scientists predict that the Leonids will produce more than five hundred shooting stars in the sky which can be seen at different locations. Each year around the 17th of November, there are shooting stars in the sky from this well documented meteor shower.

The Leonids are so named because of their proximity to the constellation, Leo. They are famous because of the spectacular displays they put on since their discovery. There was a shower in 1833 which was said to be exceptional. There are accounts of the shower from people living during that time. Many thought the world was ending.

The shooting stars are primarily bits of space debris from comets. They have been seen for centuries. It is believed that the comet Temple-Tuttle is the primary source for the debris of the Leonids. The meteor rounds the earth every year leaving behind a trail of debris. Each year it takes a slightly different path leaving different trails of debris in its wake. The planet earth circles around the debris and goes through it during November each year setting off a celestial display in the eastern sky.

The proper term for space debris is meteor shower. The Leonid meteor shower is a result of debris being strewn by a comet..
The best time for viewing these showers is just before dawn on Tuesday, according to some experts. It is difficult to see the meteor shower in bright city lights. If you live in a dark and clear area, you can probably see it in the eastern sky where the constellation Leo is rising.
You probably do not need a telescope. The glow of the shower should light up the northeast sky.