The Leonid meteor shower, one of the most stunning annual meteor showers, will peak early Tuesday morning, November 17, 2009.
We've got everything you need to know on when and how to catch the 2009 Leonid meteor shower, as well as pictures below!
NASA is predicting "20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia."
If you want to catch the Leonid meteor shower, the best place to see it is in Asia, but viewers throughout North America should get a peek at the "star" performance.
The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning - between 1 a.m. and dawn - regardless where you live.
SPACE also notes,
In the United States and Canada, eastern observers will be particularly well-positioned for maximum activity, expected sometime between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. EST, when the radiant of the Leonid shower will be well up in the dark southeastern sky.
Luckily, the new moon is on November 16, 2009, so the skies "will be dark for catching the fainter meteor streaks."
The Leonid meteors -- dubbed "cosmic garbage" -- are created by minute dust particles shed by the comet Tempel-Tuttle:
The Leonids are known to be made up of cosmic litter from a small -- 2.2 mile -- dusty comet discovered by two astronomers in the late 19th century and christened Tempel-Tuttle.
They're called "Leonids" because they appear to come from the direction of the constellation Leo, National Geographic explains.
See photos of Leonid meteor showers from years past in the photos below! Send us your Leonid meteor shower photos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leonids meteors are seen streaking through the sky in South Korea. The meteors, minute dust particles shed by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, are called "Leonids" because they appear to come from the direction of the constellation Leo.
This photo captures the Leonids meteor shower over Monpelier and Barre, Vermont on November 18, 2001.
The horizontal streaks captured in this photo of the Leonid meteor shower are stars or planets. The photo shows meteors seen streaking through the sky over Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Leonid meteors spotted the sky over Beijing in November 2001.
Taken in the Chaingmai province in Thailand, this photo of the Leonid meteor shower captures the tail of a meteor among bright stars.