Celestial treat: Leonid meteor shower to peak across US East coast tonight

New Delhi: Skygazers are in for a surprise as the best view of Leonid meteor shower is set to be visible across the US East coast on Tuesday night.

With clear skies, viewers can expect to see about 10 to 15 meteors per hour, as per NASA prediction.

Leonid meteors are not physically associated with Leo. They are tiny pieces of comet Tempel-Tuttle.

The Leonid meteors recur each year when Earth passes through comet Tempel-Tuttle’s debris trail, and small bits of rock burn up in our planet`s atmosphere. They quickly vaporize, forming the glowing streaks known as meteors.

The trail is clumpy, though, with the biggest clumps near the comet itself. So every time the comet streaks through the inner solar system, the number of meteors goes up. Some years, the Leonids can produce hundreds of meteors an hour. And some years, the Leonids produce not showers of meteors, but storms, as was the case in 1833, when so many meteors had streaked across the sky that their light woke the sleeping Americans.

While the upcoming meteor shower won’t be one of those great years, it would still be worth a look as it reaches its peak in the wee hours of Monday and Tuesday.

To watch live

Both NASA and the Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast live streams of the shower.

NASA live stream will begin on November 17 at 7:30 pm EST (0030 GMT Tuesday) and will continue until sunrise on November 18.

The Slooh live stream will begin on November 17 at 8:00 pm EST (0100 GMT Tuesday).

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