Mary Tutwiler


by Mary Tutwiler

Up on the roof. That’s where you should be after midnight when this year’s Leonid meteor shower streaks across the skies. The prosaic explanation for a meteor shower is that space dust from a passing comet burns when it passes through Earth’s atmosphere. The poet’s depiction: shooting stars. The Leonid meteor shower, associated with the celestial dust of the Tempel-Tuttle comet, produces an especially brilliant show that stargazers look forward to each November.

If the skies are clear, this year should light up the skies with 20 to 30 meteors per hour, however, is predicting partly cloudy skies and a low of 45 degrees. But who ever believes the weather predictions? You might as well gaze into a crystal ball. Best bet: Grab a lawn chair, a sleeping bag, point your toes east toward the constellation Leo, whence the Leonids get their name, and watch for the heavenly lights from around 3 a.m till dawn. I’m betting on a starry night.

Photo courtesy of NASA