The Leonid meteor showers are expected to peak next week, and North America should be a prime viewing location. The peak should come overnight between November 18th and 19th. Two swarms, one around 10pm CST and the second around 4:30AM are expected.
We’ve gone out to the country to watch the Leonids twice now. The first time was breathtaking. We found a quiet little spot to park and laid in the back of the truck, wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags, and watched the sky. It was the first time I’d watched a shower (as opposed to seeing the occasional shooting star).
The second time a friend took the train out from Chicago to see the showers. We were sorely disappointed, though, as a blanket of thick, cotton-like fog settled over most of northern Illinois. We drove for a few hours trying to find a clear patch to no avail.
With the Leonid supposed to be making a stronger than ever (in recent history) showing, I’m trying to decide the best way to view it. Our new house is set back far enough away from the city that we might be able to have a strong show from the back yard. Worst case, we might hop into the truck and drive out a bit further into the country. This year I’ll be sure to bring the camera and laptop with me. I finally figured out how to take a continuous set of still photographs with it. I don’t know what the quality will be like, but I’ll give it a shot.