The Leonids meteor shower is at its zenith at this time and will remain so for the next seven odd days.
An astronomical phenomenon which is known as the Leonids meteor shower is currently underway. And it will remain constant for the next couple of days. From dusk on Tuesday all the way to the dawn of Wednesday it will reach its peak.
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The rate at which the meteors will manifest themselves is 20 meteors per hourly basis, according to Accuweather.com. This is a much more rapid pace of appearance than is seen during the Taurid meteor shower.
The Leo constellation is where these meteors have their origin. After 12:00 midnight, the illuminated part of the sky will really be an awesome sight to witness. And the moon will be on the wane which means that the view will be crystal clear.
However, there are a few hitches along the way for stargazers. For one thing, a storm will be casting its shadow all over the United States and this might prove a hindrance in seeing the incredible panorama in the sky. Those who want a peek at the Leonids shower ought not to wait until Tuesday. They should go ahead and take their chances now.
The past of the Leonids is indeed a wondrous time period to behold. The original comet from which they derive makes close inroads near our planet time after time. Every 33 years or so, new flotsam and jetsam is deposited around the earth’s orbital vicinity.
From shower to torrid meteor storm, the Leonids have come a long way. Some of the past examples have been magnificent displays of brilliant lights in the night sky. However, this year no stormy scene will be created. The repetition in passage around the earth’s orbital environs leaves a lot of debris.
In 2001, such a meteor storm took place. In the more distant past, the same took place in 1966 and 1833. But way back then, it was simply amazing. In 1966, the overall effect was indeed very grandiloquent.
A virtual rainstorm and hailstorm of meteors came down illuminating the skies. Meanwhile, the 1833 event was even more brilliant and florescent and a sight to behold in wonderment and amazement. There may have been other such displays of firework-like energy before 1833.
In fact, Chinese astronomers have been known to have seen such a sight in foreign lands in ancient times. While the Taurids are slower, the meteors in case of the Leonids are often seen to whiz past the onlooker’s eyes in the blue velvet texture of the sky.
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The NASA tool Fluxtimator allows you to calculate the expected shower rate for a given date and a given location.