Leonid Meteor Shower 2013: Watch Shooting Stars Light Up The Night Sky This Weekend [VIDEO]

By Josh Lieberman on November 15, 2013 6:08 PM EST

leonids
The 2013 Leonid meteor shower will occur this weekend. Above, stargazers document the 2012 Leonids. (Photo: Reuters)

One of the most prolific annual meteor showers, the Leonids, will light up the night sky this weekend. The 2013 Leonid meteor shower is expected to be a "twin-peaked maximum," with the first peak arriving on November 17 at 10:00 UT (5:00 AM EST) and the second peak arriving six hours later. The Leonids are so named because they appear to originate from the constellation Leo, but in reality they are debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle.

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Alas, the 2013 Leonids may go down as one of the weaker showers on record. A full moon will occur between the two peaks, and the moon's brightness will make any dimmer meteors impossible to see. This year is also projected to see a fairly light showing of meteors to begin with, with about 40 meteors an hour. Seeing one meteor every couple of minutes might seem like a pretty good deal, except when you consider that the Leonid showers of 1999 and 2001 which produced an astonishing 3,000 meteors per hour.

So while the 2013 Leonids will be far from a meteor storm--1,000 or more meteors an hour--it will still be worth trying to catch a shooting star or two. You can do that by getting as far away from light pollution as possible. (Is there a field near you? Go there.) Stargazers in the U.S. Northeast should have a pretty good shot at seeing some Leonid meteors, as should those in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, or California (check out this AccuWeather visibility map).

Of course, the best place to watch anything is really the internet, because that doesn't require you to stand in a dark, cold field at two in the morning (unless you're using the internet in a really weird way). Below you can watch the 2013 Leonid meteor livestream courtesy of the Slooh camera, which includes commentary by astronomy expert Bob Berman.

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