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Leonids Meteor Shower 2012 Peak: When to Watch in Kirkwood

Shooting stars will be flying the night of Nov. 17 over Kirkwood—not as many as some past years—but it promises to be a show worth watching.

It's time again for one of the most noteworthy of the year's sky shows, the annual Leonids Meteor Shower, which in some years has been spectacular. This year, however, is predicted to be somewhat less so.

The Leonids has been called, in some years, a "meteor storm" (rather than just a "shower"), but reports say this year will be limited to "at best 10 to 15 meteors per hour." The last Leonid storm, with thousands of shooting stars per hour, was in 2002.

A report from MSNBC says there is a reason this year's display is a bit different: "Two peaks of activity, one on Saturday morning and another on Tuesday morning (Nov. 20)."

Watch for the meteors to emanate from the constellation Leo (get it? Leonids?), from around 10 p.m. St. Louis time. MSNBC says "the best views of the Leonids come in the hours between midnight and dawn as Leo gradually climbs higher into the sky."

Best way to watch? Lie outside in a dark place between midnight and dawn. Point your feet east and look carefully. 

One of the 10 cool things to know about the Leonids, from Space.com: "Leonids are spawned by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years, it rounds the Sun and then goes back to the outer solar system. On each passage across Earth's orbit, Tempel-Tuttle lays down another trail of debris..."

To watch in St. Peters, find a place not polluted by light.

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