The Leonid Meteor Shower Is About to Peak, Here's How to See Shooting Stars This Week

The Leonid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, possibly even showing off some fireballs.

The fall has not provided perfect conditions for meteor showers, but there have been a lot of them. Another is coming. The Leonid meteor shower will peak this week, even if it isn't the most spectacular one of the year.

Head out the night of November 17 into the morning of November 18 to catch the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. The display lasts from around November 3 to December 2, per Space.com, but it will be at its best as it reaches its peak.

With no moon or other light pollution, you might be able to see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour.

How to see the Leonid meteor shower

The Leonid meteor shower is not expected to produce one of its famous outbursts in 2022. When that happens, you might see hundreds of meteors per hour. That is a long way from expectations this year when the likely ceiling is closer to 15 meteors per hour.

Because of when the radiant rises, the best time to see the Leonids will be after midnight and toward morning local time. The earlier end of that window may be best, though. As Space.com notes, the last quarter moon will rise after midnight and provide some light interference, possibly obscuring your view of fainter meteors.

It can be helpful to find the shower’s radiant, which is in the constellation Leo. It will rise around midnight and will be at its highest point around dawn. The radiant is the spot from where the meteors appear to emanate. However, don't look right at the radiant. The meteors will be moving away from that point. You’ll see more meteors by looking anywhere else in the sky.

As with any meteor shower, you will want to get out under dark skies. The light pollution from cities--it can reach surprisingly far from the confines of the city--will reduce your ability to see many objects in the sky, including meteors. Once you're in your stargazing spot, give your eyes a while to adjust to the darkness. It can take a while. Looking at lights like headlights, a flashlight (unless the light is red), or a phone can reset your night vision. 

Then just lean back and take in as much of the sky as possible. The more of the sky you can see, the more likely you are to see meteors. It might not be the Geminids or Perseids, but even a mild meteor shower is appealing when you can get out before it starts to get too cold out. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin on Twitter.