Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: Leonids Easy to See in Dark Sky
Annual Leonid meteor shower to peak in wee hours of Saturday.
Sky-watchers should be able to spot even the faintest Leonid meteors, with up to about two dozen meteors an hour lighting up the night in the wee hours of Saturday.
The Leonids are so named because they seem to radiate from the constellation Leo, the Lion, which in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year rises around local midnight, and by 3:00 a.m. is high in the eastern sky. (See a Leonid viewing diagram.)
Like most meteor showers, the Leonids are caused by Earth plowing through a comet's dust trail, in this case comet Tempel-Tuttle, which completes a circuit of the sun every 33 years. When the comet gets close to the sun, melting ice releases pieces of dust, most no larger