The annual Leonid meteor shower is expected to reach peak activity tonight, November 17, at about 10:40 p.m. EST. Leonid meteor showers occur when the Earth runs into a stream of small icy debris left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle as it moves about the Sun.
The best viewing opportunity is tonight after midnight, when the constellation Leo rises above the eastern horizon. Leonids can be viewed any place on Earth except Antarctica -- given the sky is clear.
"The moon is going to be a major interference, but we could see a rate of about 20 per hour," said Bill Cooke, Lead of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
For best meteor viewing Cooke suggests going to a location away from city lights, dressing warmly, and lie flat on your back and look straight up. No special viewing equipment needed -- just your eyes.
The Leonids occur each year in November.
At 1:45 am MST on November 17th, NASA's all sky camera at the New Mexico State University caught this image of a Leonid meteor streaking through the skies.