Where to Look for the Leonids

The Leonid meteor shower originates from the area around the constellation Leo the lion. Leo is a spring constellation and does not rise till around 10:30PM in the eastern US. It moves to an almost overhead position when the meteor shower is expected to peak just before dawn.

Leo is easy to recognize as the front stars look like a backwards question mark. The bright star Regulus is the bottom star in the question mark. This is the general area of the sky which you will want to watch, but remember, at least in 2001, the meteors were coming from many other parts of the sky as well!

For this year's Leonids, astronomers have detected two times during which meteor activity will peak. These are two areas of debris the Earth will pass through, both on the night of November 19. At 12:23 a.m. EST (see chart for other time zones.) Earth will be passing through a large area of debris and the shower could last as long as 24 hours. A specific denser area of debris has been pinpointed that we will pass through at 2:28 a.m. EST. At this time, the Earth will pass very close to an area of debris that was ejected from the comet in 1533. During the period around 2:38 a.m. We could see anywhere from 50 to over 100 meteors per hour.

Leonid meteor rates for selected cities: Nov. 19, 2003

 City
 Local Time
Maximum number of Leonids in 15 min.
 New York, NY
2:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
17
 Miami, FL
2:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
14
 Chicago, IL
1:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
13
 Dallas, TX
1:45 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
9
 Denver, CO
0:45 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
7
 Los Angeles, CA
0:00 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
3
 Caracas, Venezuela
3:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
17
 San Juan, Puerto Rico
3:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
18
 Bermuda
3:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
19
 London, England
5:45 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
7
 Paris, France
6:30 a.m. (Nov. 19th)
6

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