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American Meteor Society

Viewing the Leonids in 2020

16 Nov 2020, 08:24 UTC
Viewing the Leonids in 2020
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Paul Sutherland captured this Leonid fireball from Walmer, Kent, England, on 19 November 2017 at 02h29m09s UT. Credit Paul Sutherland .
The Leonids are active all of November but only produce strong rates near the date of maximum activity. In 2020, that date will be the night of November 16-17. No major outbursts are predicted this year but the Leonids are impressive meteors regardless of the numbers seen. Many Leonids meteors are bright and colorful, often leaving long-lasting persistent trains visible in the sky after the meteor has disappeared. Realistic hourly rates at maximum are probably near 10. Expect to see the highest activity only during the last couple of hours prior to dawn on November 17th. Should this morning be overcast, the morning of the 18th should present nearly as much activity.
The Leonids are remnants of comet 55P Tempel-Tuttle, which last passed through the inner solar system in 1998. The comet has just passed its farthest point from the sun and is now on its inbound leg of its journey around the sun. It is expected to be closest to the sun again in 2031. The comet has completed so many trips around the sun that remnants are ...

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