Stargazing: Leonids peak this weekend
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Head outside Saturday night and early Sunday morning to see the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. The Leonids occur every year around Nov.17 when Earth plows through a cloud of dusty debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle. The gritty, dusty debris stream was laid down by the Leonids' parent comet more than 500 years ago in 1466.
Since the peak of this year's shower occurs in a dark sky after the waxing crescent moon sets, you may see as many as 15 meteors per hour streak across the sky from an area around the shower's radiant in the constellation Leo. Because Leo doesn't rise until around midnight, best viewing will occur between 2 a.m. and dawn in the eastern sky.
The best way to view the Leonid meteor shower is to lie down on your favorite lawn chair away from the glow of city lights and look toward the east. Binoculars or a telescope aren't necessary to view meteor showers. Your eyes will do just fine.
First Published November 12, 2012 12:00 am