This photo taken by Lovato shows a bright Leonid fireball in clouds. Most of the time bad weather and clouds prevent people from seeing meteor showers, but the clouds in this image create a special effect! This fireball was photographed at 00:06 UT in the night of Nov. 16/17, 1998, using a 16 mm f/2.8 Fuji 800 lens in a 15/20 minute exposure.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Lorenzo Lovato of Imola, Italy

It's Time Again for the Leonids!
News story originally written on November 14, 2001

This year's Leonid meteor shower could turn out to be one of the most spectacular sky events of the 21st century! The peak of this meteor shower should occur in the early morning hours of November 18, 2001 (the true peak should be between 4-6am EST). This year's Leonid shower could even reach meteor storm status!

Viewers across the United States are in the perfect position to see what promises to be a grand show! "During a typical Leonid meteor shower, an experienced observer might see about 10 to 15 meteors per hour. But during a storm, that rate climbs to 1,000 or more meteors per hour. This year's Leonid storm might peak at a rate of up to 2,000 per hour, although it's difficult to pin down a precise number. The rates will rise and fall over a period of two hours," says Robert Naeye, Editor of Mercury magazine, published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The meteors in the Leonids shower are pieces of the comet Temple-Tuttle. We see these leftover comet pieces as meteors when the Earth passes through the comet's orbit, as it will on November 18th.

The name "Leonids" comes from the constellation Leo. If you trace the path of the meteors during any Leonid meteor shower, they appear to come from a point within Leo. This point is called the radiant because the meteors seem to radiate from it.

Observers in eastern Asia and the Western Pacific will also be able to see the storm. To find out when meteor shower activity will peak in your area, see NASA's Leonid Activity Estimator. For much more information, please see this comprehensive article published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Last modified November 14, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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