Skip to main content

Make a Wish: the Leonids are Coming

Look up at the sky tonight, and there's a good chance you'll see a shooting star. Tonight will be the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower, but it won't be seen in all of its glory due to a bright moon.

A Leonid fireball. Image copyright/credit: Lorenzo Lovato.

Peak activity is expected at approximately 10:40 PM EST. To see the meteors, it's best to view them far away from city lights, and you should allow your eyes to adjust to the night sky for about 15 minutes. Although there will be a bright third quarter moon, astronomers expect to see up to 20 meteors per hour.

On rare occasion—about every 33 years—the Leonids burn up in the atmosphere at a rate of thousands per hour when the meteor source comet, Temple-Tuttle, passes closest to the sun.

While tonight's show might be somewhat lackluster, there's still plenty of meteor watching to do before the end of the year. In December, the Geminid meteor shower will light up the night sky once again. According to early forecasts, the Geminids will put on a more luminous show than the Leonids.

For more information about the Leonid meteor shower, check out this article from


Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know: "What's going on in this video ? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux ) Image Credit: St0rmz via Flickr Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?