The annual Leonid meteor shower is to peak Friday night, Nov. 17. It is hoped, however, that a brief outburst will give Saturday night sky watchers a real treat.
A surge in the number of meteors is expected just before Midnight Saturday night with some long, dramatic, glowing meteor trails possible. Friday night's meteors will be at their best after Midnight as the constellation Leo rises in the east. Meteor showers are named for the constellations from which they appear to radiate. Leonid meteors can be rather faint and hard to spot.
This year's Leonids are not expected to be spectacular, but may be the last "good" Leonid shower for many years to come. Saturday night's hoped-for outburst is due to Earth's passage near to the 1932 dust trail left by parent comet Tempel-Tuttle. That doesn't happen very often. The Moon will also be just new and so not a hindrance to viewing.
You don't need (or want) a telescope or binoculars when watching for meteors. Observing requires only a clear view of the sky (no clouds), a dark sky (no lights, best away from towns), a comfortable reclining position from which to watch --a folding patio chaise lounge is perfect for this-- and warm clothes, even a sleeping bag!
Check Westlake Porter Public Library's collection of books on astronomy for more on meteors, meteorites, and the amazing night sky!