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 its peak intensity during
this year and next year on November 17/18th. The best show will be seen
this year in Asia and next year in Europe and Asia. During both years any
place in the northern hemisphere will see a larger-than-normal display.
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
pieces of it break off
and spread out through the comet's orbit. We see the pieces of the comet
as a meteor shower 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
appear to orginate from a point in the constellation. This point is
called the radiant because the meteors seems to radiate from it.
The best time to view the meteor shower is in the early morning of the
17th/18th local time. The intensity will increase during the night and
will be most intense just before dawn.
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