Best Place and Time to Witness the 2012 Leonid Meteor Shower

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On November 17, the Leonid meteor shower will be visible under the dark skies with estimated 10-15 meteors per hour during its peak at 3 a.m. EST. Viewers should pick a nice spot in order to witness the rare event as the meteor shower shoot across the skies of Florissant, Waukee and Chicago.

People who reside on the west coast can also see the meteors shining above the skies on late Friday night. This year, the Leonid meteor shower viewing is expected to be better with the intense peak time normally lasting only for two to three hours. Usually, the meteors are white or bluish-white in color. However, in recent years, some observers reported seeing a yellow-pink and copper-colored meteor.

In Waukee, Iowa, the wide-open spaces of Centennial Park is an easy spot with magnificent view to witness the dazzling meteor shower. Mike Reynolds, a veteran meteor-watcher and Astronomy Contributing Editor shared a viewing advice. "You need a clear, dark sky. Dark means at least 40 miles from any large city. And you won't need a telescope. Your eyes work best because you want the largest field of view. That said, you might want to bring binoculars to follow any smoke trails the meteors leave," Reynolds said.

Since it is November, the cold weather is inevitable. Sky-gazers should dress in layers to keep themselves warm in the outside cold as well as having extra blankets at hand. As for the time to witness the Leonid meteor shower, the best advice is to watch after midnight. This is the time when certain locations on Earth face the path that our planet orbits the sun. After midnight, the Earth is running into the meteor stream.

Meanwhile, Astronomy.com reports that when viewers head out only after sunset, they should generally face east and look one-third to one-half of the way up in the sky. Also, glancing around can be helpful. After 2 a.m., viewers should aim their gaze halfway up in the western sky.

"All meteor showers are fun events. Hopefully, this year's Leonids will feature some bright meteors. Pick out a dark site, stay warm, and get ready to cheer," Reynolds stated.

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