The 2012 Leonid Meteor Shower peak already arrived but sky-gazers still have a chance to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon as it continues this weekend. Ben Burress, a Chabot Space and Science Center astronomer in Oakland, declared another peak to build up from late Friday night to Saturday morning and continue until early Sunday morning.
The Leonids are not anticipated to be that amazing this year since the comet that last passed close to Earth was back in 1999. However, Burress said that witnessing an estimated 10 to 20 meteors per hour are not that terrible. "That gives you a good chance of seeing one every five or so minutes," Burress stated.
Nevertheless, this year is expected to provide a good quality viewing of the Leonid meteor shower because the moon sets at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday in each U.S. time zone. "So Sunday morning anywhere from midnight to 3 or 4 a.m. is the prime window," Burress said.
Kristina Pydynowski, a meteorologist of AccuWeather, claimed most parts of the USA east of the Rockies can witness the meteor shower on Friday night and Saturday morning with the exception of the Southeast coast if there are no weather disturbances. However, Pydynowski warned that clouds could prevent anyone from Florida to the eastern Carolinas from seeing the meteor shower. As for the night viewing on Saturday night, the clouds will most likely be clear for most of the Southeast.
Also, Pydynowski added the majority of the far West will have poor viewing of the Leonid meteor shower through the weekend because of a pair of Pacific storm systems that will convey the clouds across the West Coast towards the Rockies on Friday and Saturday night. Meanwhile, clear skies should provide a fantastic Leonid meteor shower viewing in the Northeast, Midwest, lower Mississippi Valley and most of the Plains states.