Weather

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight / Tomorrow

November 16, 2015, 11:16 AM HST
* Updated November 16, 4:07 PM
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1966 Leonid Meteor Storm / Image: NASA

1966 Leonid Meteor Storm / Image: NASA

The Leonid Meteor Shower is active in Hawaiʻi through November 20, 2015. The show in the sky began Friday November 13, 2015. According to the Bishop Museum, the Leonids were responsible for the most spectacular meteor shower over Hawaiʻi in recent times, the 2001 meteor shower. An intense peak occurs every 33 to 34 years.

The greatest shower on record prior to that, the 1966 shower, also had Leo as its radiant. The Earth Sky website describes that shower as “a beautiful night, where meteors did briefly fall like rain.” During a time span of 15 minutes, rates were estimated as high as thousands of meteors per minute. The next shower of that caliber isn’t expected again until the turn of the century.

This year we do not expect the Leonid shower to rival the events mentioned above, however viewing conditions will be quite good as the moon sets well before peak shower conditions. Weather conditions are likely to cooperate as increased moisture from a front isn’t expected to reach us here in Maui County until Wednesday. As a general rule, leeward spots will be drier and clearer than windward areas. The higher the elevation, the better the view!

NASA describes the Leonids as a minor meteor shower with an estimated peak rate of 10 to 15 meteors per hour. Some have dubbed this shower ‘fascinatingly variable’, so cross your fingers for a better than average show.

The Leonids occur every year in November as earth passes through the orbital path of Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

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Viewing tips:

  • Mark your calendars! The Leonids are active from November 13 – 20 with peak nights November 16 into November 17 and November 17 into November 18.
  • This shower will appear to radiate from the constellation Leo the Lion but you don’t have to necessarily look right at the radiant as meteors will appear in all parts of the night sky.
  • In general the best time to view a meteor shower is during the early morning hours when the shower activity is combined with normal random meteor activity.
  • Dusk is the worst time to view meteors, as the night progresses the number of meteors that are visible will increase.
  • Find the darkest place possible.
  • Find an open area where no trees or buildings intrude into your view.
  • Allow your eyes to adjust for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Get comfortable. Dress appropriately and bring something to recline or lay on.
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**Send us your photos of the meteor shower and we will share them with our MauiNow.com ohana! Email [email protected]**

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