Head’s UP: Return of the Leonids


One of the most moving experiences I had teaching Astronomy at Lehigh was the year I took both my classes and their friends (nearly 150 people showed up) out to watch the Leonids at the end of the Fall Semester.

We had tunes, hot chocolate and crowds all gathered just before dawn to see what turned out to be the closest thing to a meteor storm that I’m ever likely to see.

So I was excited to read this announcement:

“Astronomers from Caltech and NASA say a strong shower of Leonid meteors is coming in 2009. Their prediction follows an outburst on Nov. 17, 2008, that broke several years of ‘Leonid quiet’ and heralds even more intense activity next November.”


If you want to see something amazing, even if it doesn’t reach the level of a meteor storm next year, it’s worth putting the date on your calendar. The Leonid meteors tend to the large fire-ball category and the coolest thing is watch them skip across the sky (like a rock on a pond) as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...