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Watching “shooting stars” can be an enjoyable, if unpredictable, outdoor activity during meteor showers. You may see only a few fleeting meteors, or you may see several, or even a fireball! Best times for observing is after midnight.

Leonids

The Leonid meteor shower begins the middle of November and is best viewed under clear dark skies.
 It radiates from the constellation Leo the Lion, which is found in the eastern heavens after midnight in the Northern Hemisphere.

This shower has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history. The 1966 Leonid shower produced thousands of meteors per minute during a span of 15 minutes on the morning of November 17, 1966.

The Leonid meteor shower of 1833, depicted over Niagara Falls in artwork by Detlev Van Ravenswaay on November 13, produced an estimated 240,000 meteors during the nine hours over North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The New York Evening Post carried a series of articles on the event including reports from Canada to Jamaica.
Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, noted in his journal that this event was a literal fulfillment of the word of God and a sure sign that the coming of Christ was close at hand.

This week-long meteor shower usually produces around 5-20 meteors each hour, except once in about every 33 years when thousands can be seen.


Leonid meteor shower of 1833 by Detlev Van Ravenswaay
Leonid meteor shower of 1833

How to Watch a Meteor Shower
 
Dress warmly: Since most showers occur during the coldest hours of night, be sure to to wear extra layers to ward off the chill.
 
Get comfortable. A reclining outdoor chair or blanket will make a long night of meteor-watching more enjoyable, and your neck muscles will thank you in the morning.
 
Look straight up. The best way to watch a meteor shower is not to strain your eyes at the shower's radiant — the patch of the sky where it appears to emanate from. Looking straight up is the best method to see any meteors or fireballs during the night.

Sources: EarthSky, SPACE.com

Geminids

Recurring in mid-December, the Geminid shower often produces 50 or more meteors per hour.

Lyrids

This meteor shower occurs every April as Earth passes through the dusty flakes of the broken comet called "Comet Thatcher."

Observation of the Lyrids have been for at least 2,600 years, the longest of any shower. The oldest descriptions are by a Chinese observer who wrote that “stars fell like rain” on March 16, 687 BC.


Quadrantid Meteor Shower

This
bright display is a seen mainly in the Northern Hemisphere at the beginning of the new year (January 1-6). The Quadrantids are streams of debris shed by the asteroid 2003 EH1, which may actually be the remains of a long-dead comet.  

The Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 80 meteors per hour, varying between 60 and 200.

Locate this meteor shower by finding the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) then looking further north (roughly "up" if the Big Dipper were holding liquid). The constellation Draco ("Dragon") has a "head" of four bright stars that look a little bit like the four stars that make up the cup end of the Big Dipper. Look for meteors between the end of the Big Dipper's handle and Draco's head.

Quadrantid Meteor Shower, Milky Way and Aurora
Quadrantid Meteor Shower, Milky Way and Aurora




A Chance of Showers

The night is cold and moonless. Stars twinkle in frosty stillness. My breath rises from my lips as a thick fog, circling my head before it dissipates into the silence.
   
I am out late in the dark, standing on a butte more than a mile from the nearest street light, because there's a chance of showers. Meteor showers.
   
Falling stars, or meteors, are not uncommon. You can catch site of one almost any night of the year, and some are even large enough and bright enough to break the light of day. But showers of meteors -- when long streaks of flame arc across the heavens not once, but many times -- are another matter. Most of these are caused by clouds of dust left in the path of passing comets and they come round again like the seasons, year after year.

Continued in Rural Delivery

Meteor Shower Calendar for 2016

January 3-4
Quadrantids (60-200 per hour)

April 22-23
Lyrids (10-20 per hour)

May 5
Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (30-60 per hour)

June 27
June Bootids (10 - 20 per hour)

July 28-29
Delta Aquariids (20 per hour)

July 27-28
Alpha Capricornids (5 per hour)


August 12-13
Perseids (60-80 per hour)

October 7
Draconids (5-100 per hour)

October 21-22
Orionids (10 - 20 per hour)

November 17-18
Leonids
(10 - 20 per hour)

December 13-14
Geminids (100 per hour)








Holidays
Bulletin Board
Orionid Meteor Shower mouse pad
Orionid Meteor Shower mouse pad

Meteor Shower Umbrella
Meteor Shower Umbrella

Meteor Shower
Meteor Shower

Leonids Meteor Shower pillow case
Leonids Meteor Shower pillow case

Meteor Showers: An Annotated Catalog
Meteor Showers

An Annotated Catalog
Meteor Shower T-Shirt
Meteor Shower T-Shirt
Do Stars Clean Themselves with Meteor Showers?

Meteorite Sweeper
Meteorite Sweeper

Stony Meteorite
Stony Meteorite

Meteor Shower
Meteor Shower

poster
It's Raining Stars
It's Raining Stars

Geminids Meteor Shower above the Zagros Mountains
Geminids Meteor Shower above the Zagros Mountains





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