This weekend takes place the maximum activity of the Leonids, the meteor shower created by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. During the next week, the Moon will form nice conjunctions first with Saturn and then with Jupiter.
The Leonids are visible from the 6th to the 30th of November, approximately, although their maximum activity takes place around the 17th and 18th, times when they can be observed. up to 20 meteors per hour. As their name suggests, the Leonids have their radiant (the point in the sky from which all meteors appear to come) in the Leo constellation.
This weekend we have the Crescent moonwill go to bed in the west around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. (depending on the exact date), at the same time that the constellation of Leo will be rising in the east. Therefore, it will be convenient observe shooting stars from those hourswhen the lunar glow disappears, the sky becomes very dark and the radiant rises above the horizon.
For the observation of the Leonidas enough with stand in a dark placeprotected from light pollution, and not limit oneself to the constellation of Leo, but monitor as much of the celestial vault as possible because, although they appear to come from that constellation, meteors can appear anywhere.
The Leonids are caused by Tempel-Tuttle, a comet with a period of 33 years that has a nucleus about two kilometers in size. Are bright and extremely fast meteors They reach speeds of about 250,000 kilometers per hour. However, that of the Leonids is a rain what varies greatly from year to year. It is particularly active in the years when Tempel-Tuttle passes close to the Sun (at perihelion). Therefore, the 33-year period of the comet is reflected in a 33-year period in the activity of this meteor shower.