The constellation Leo (The Lion)
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1998 Leonids Meteor Shower
News story originally written on November 7, 1998
The Leonids meteor shower is expected to reach a peak intensity November
17/18th during this year and next year. The best show will be seen in
Asia this year and in Europe and Asia next year, but any place in the
northern hemisphere will see a larger-than-normal display during both
The meteors in the Leonids shower are pieces of the comet
Temple-Tuttle. The comet's orbit
brings it near the sun every 33 years. When it approaches perihelion
(as in February 1998),
pieces of it break away. The debris then spreads through the comet's
orbit. We see the debris as meteors when the Earth passes through the
comet's orbit, as it will on November 17th.
The name "Leonids" comes from the constellation Leo
. The meteors
to originate from a point within the constellation. The point is called
the radiant because the meteors seem to radiate from it.
The best time to view the meteor shower is in the early morning, any time
between midnight and sunrise local time. The shower will get more intense
closer to dawn.
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