Sky Show Thursday: Leonid Meteor Shower to Peak
Mars and Moon will help viewers locate the 2011 Leonids.
"The quarter-phase moon"—when the lunar disk appears half dark—"will interfere with meteor watching this year," said Ben Burress, staff astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California.
"But since [the moon] won't rise until after local midnight, and meteors can be seen in the earlier hours as well, there is a spell of time in the evening of the 17th when the sky will be moonless and darker, making for good conditions for viewing," Burress said.
For instance, sky-watchers worldwide can try looking up at the eastern sky during the predawn hours of Friday, when the Leonids' peak will produce about 20 visible shooting stars an hour.
Astronomers also expect as many as