The Leonid meteor shower lights up the sky above China's Great Wall
STEPHEN SHAVER—AFP/Getty Images
By Jamie Ducharme
November 14, 2017

The annual Leonid meteor shower will be crystal-clear to astronomy fans in many parts of the U.S. this weekend.

The Leonid shower happens each November, when Earth crosses the orbital path of the Tempel-Tuttle comet, according to EarthSky. This year, the celestial show is slated to begin Nov. 17, with peak viewing hours starting early the next morning, AccuWeather reports.

According to AccuWeather, that’s good news for stargazers in the coastal Southeast, the northern Plains, the Four Corners area and California, where clear skies will make for great viewing conditions. Viewers in the Northeast, Great Lakes region and central Plains, however, may be blocked by storms and cloudy skies, AccuWeather meteorologist Kyle Elliot told the site.

The Leonid is easiest to see in the Northern Hemisphere, AccuWeather adds, with the most meteors falling in East Asia.

Most years, including this one, the Leonid shower produces roughly 15 meteors per hour at its peak. (For 2017, that’s between midnight and dawn on Nov. 18.) But once in a while, during particularly heavy years, it can produce as many as 50,000 meteors in a single hour, Space.com reports.

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