Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky
Update: November 18, 8:51 a.m.
If you missed the light show last night, never fear. The meteors will still be shooting through the sky Thursday night and into Friday morning. From reports of star gazers, the best time to see it is after the moon sets. Check out the timings for when the moon goes down here. In Washington, the moon should set around 3:51 a.m. Photographer Jeff Sullivan said the meteors were falling at about a rate of one per minute.
November 17, 11: 25 a.m.
The November meteor extravaganza, the Leonid meteor shower, will peak just before dawn Thursday, but some would-be astronomers may miss the sky show thanks to the moon's interference.
"Light reflecting off a bright moon can be just as detrimental to good meteor viewing as those bright lights of the big city," a NASA blog posting says. "There is nothing you can do except howl at the moon."
The moon does set after midnight, though, so if you can wake up in the middle of the night, the best viewing time will be about 3 a.m. NASA also recommends getting as far away from city lights as possible, not using any binoculars or telescopes, and lying on the ground to watch as much of the sky as possible.
Leonids rain down on earth every year thanks to the Earth's orbit passing the Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. When dust and debris from the comet hit the Earth's atmosphere, streaks of light fill the sky. In 2002, the shower became a full fledged storm with thousands of meteors shooting across the sky each hour. This year, there will likely be about 15 meteors per hour.
| November 17, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
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