SPACE.com — Viewer’s Guide: The 2006 Leonid Meteor Shower
this weekend, when the Leonids traditionally should be at their most numerous, we normally would expect to see no more than 10 meteors per hour, even with the promise of excellent viewing conditions thanks to a New Moon on the 20th.
Still, for parts of Europe, Africa and eastern North America, a far more prolific Leonid show could be in the offing this year.
Judging the future by the past
On the morning of Nov. 17, 1969, an unexpected burst of Leonid activity was observed from parts of the eastern United States.
Meteor rates had been rather lackluster that morning until quite suddenly at around 8:50 GMT, Leonids began falling fast and furiously, with some observers reporting an average of two to four meteor sightings per minute. Peak activity apparently occurred within a few minutes of 9:00 GMT. Then, just as abruptly as the surprising display began, it rapidly diminished until by around 9:20 GMT, things had pretty much returned to normal. Most of the meteors that were observed were relatively faint, although as is typical of the ultrafast Leonids, there were several brilliant meteors, leaving persistent trains in their wake that lasted for many seconds.