The Leonid meteor shower will peak in the pre-dawn hours of November 18, 2023

The Leonid meteor shower in 2023 starts on November 3 and ends on December 2, and you will see peak activity on November 18, 2023, according to the American Meteor Society.

It is a major annual meteor shower in November 2023 that usually produces about 15 meteors per hour during peak activity under clear, dark skies in normal years.

We see the Leonid meteor shower every year in November, when our Earth passes through the debris of ice and dust left behind by the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle in its orbit. So every Leonid meteor is the piece of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

Leonids are the swiftest of all meteor showers. They travel through the atmosphere at a velocity of 71 km/s, according to NASA. As a bonus, they tend to be fairly bright, with an average magnitude of +2.1.

A bright Leonid meteor is radiating from the constellation Leo
A bright Leonid meteor is radiating from the constellation Leo, the Lion. Regulus is the brightest star, and Denebola is the second-brightest star in the constellation Leo. This picture was captured by Paul Sutherland from Walmer, Kent, England, on November 19, 2017 at 02:29 UTC. (Image credit: Paul Sutherland/AMS)

Best time to see the Leonid meteor shower in 2023

The best time to see the Leonid meteor shower in 2023 is in the pre-dawn hours (at around 4 a.m. local time) of November 18.

The radiant of the Leonid meteor shower rises around midnight, reaches its highest point in the sky at dawn and then its altitude (height) gradually decreases.

However, the radiant of the Leonid meteor shower climbs a decent height above the horizon from post-midnight (from 2 a.m. local time), so I will suggest you start watching Leonids (Leonid meteors) from post-midnight and continue it till dawn.

Please remember, you won’t see Leonid meteor shower in the evening as the radiant is located below the horizon in the evening.

Radiant is the particular area in the sky from where the meteors of Leonid meteor shower appear to radiate. Radiant of Leonid meteor shower is located in the zodiac constellation Leo, the Lion.

Best places to see the Leonid meteor shower in 2023

Countries located in the low-northern latitudes (from 10°N to 30°N) are the best places to see the Leonid meteor shower in the world.

Countries located in the low-northern latitudes are the USA, Japan, Portugal, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, India, China, Canary Islands, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Cuba, Senegal, Sudan, Myanmar, Philippines, Guatemala, Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Venezuela.

Although the Leonid meteor shower favors observers located in the low-northern latitudes, it can be seen from the whole Northern Hemisphere and the low-southern latitudes (up to 25°).

The real bad news is reserved for the observers located in the mid- and high-southern latitudes. Observers located south of 25°S have little to no chance of seeing the display of the Leonid meteor shower.

Please remember that the maximum altitude (height) of the Leo constellation in the sky is not the same from all over the world. It depends on the observer’s location.

The higher the altitude of the Leo constellation in the sky, the more Leonid meteors you will see.

The Leo constellation reaches an almost overhead point (more than 70° altitude) in the pre-dawn hours when you see it from the counties located in the low-northern latitudes (from 10°N to 30°N).

That’s why countries located in the low-northern latitudes are the best places to see the Leonid meteor shower in the world.

Best direction to see the Leonid meteor shower in 2023

The radiant of Leonid meteor shower is located in the zodiac constellation Leo
The radiant of Leonid meteor shower is located in the zodiac constellation Leo, the Lion. (Image credit: Stellarium)

The Leonid meteor shower radiates from the zodiac constellation Leo, the Lion. Look high in the east in the pre-dawn hours of November 18 to find the constellation Leo.

However, I will suggest you don’t look at the constellation Leo only to see the Leonid meteor shower, as the meteors closer to the radiant have shorter trails and are difficult to observe. So move your gaze across the entire east direction of the sky.

If you look at the constellation Leo only, then you may miss most of the spectacular Leonid meteors, as the most spectacular meteors travel a longer path in the sky.

You will see a far greater number of Leonid meteors when you look 25° to 45° away from the radiant.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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