The Leonids Meteor Shower is set to peak on Wednesday night and through to Thursday dawn, with up to 15 shooting stars every hour, experts say. 

After bursting off of a comet named Tempel Tuttle, small rocks drop towards Earth in an annual spectacle that takes place every November. 

NASA says that the Leonids meteors travel at speeds up to 44 miles (71 km per second) and are among the fastest in history.   

If you trace the path that the Leonids take, they seem to originate from a point in the constellation of Leo – hence the event’s name.  

The peak week-end is November 17-18, (Wednesday night through Thursday dawn), but viewing conditions can be cloudy in certain parts of the UK. MailOnline has been informed by the Met Office. 

The radiant (the point where the meteors seem to stream from) is at the head or 'sickle' of the constellation Leo the Lion, hence the name

Named after Leo the Lion’s radiant, which is the point from where meteors appear to flow from, it can be found at the head of the constellation Leo the Lion. 

The Leonids travel at speeds of 44 miles (71 km) per second, and are considered to be some of the fastest meteors out there, NASA says. Pictured, the Leonids Meteor Shower over New Mexico, 1998

NASA states that Leonids can travel 44 miles (71 km/s) per second and they are among the most powerful meteors. Photographed: The Leonids Meteor Shower above New Mexico in 1998


Leonids usually make up one of most frequent annual meteor showers. They are associated with Comet Tempel–Tuttle and produce bright, fast meteors. 

Named after Leo the Lion’s radiant, which is the place where meteors seem like they stream from, it can be found at the head (or’sickle) of the constellation Leo the Lion.

The comet leaves tiny pieces of debris as it travels around the sun. The cometary debris enters our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 43 miles (70 km) per second, vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.

Source: Royal Museums Greenwich  

For the best views of Next Week’s Peak, choose a location with clear skies. Avoid light pollution such as big cities.  

There is no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope – observers just need to look up unaided and take in the widest possible view of the sky, as long as it’s not obscured by cloud.  

The Met Office says that the UK’s north may experience a mix of rain and cloud during Wednesday’s early hours. 

MailOnline was informed by Greg Dewhurst (senior meteorologist at Met Office), that the south would be dry but could also experience some cloudiness and fog. As we near the time, details will become more clear.       

Meteors, also known as shooting stars, come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids.

The dust that comets emit when they orbit the sun slowly spreads to form a trail of dust around their orbits. 

These debris trails are traversed every year by the Earth, allowing them to come into contact with the atmosphere and disintegrate. This creates fiery streaks of color in the sky. 

Comet Tempel Tuttle is the source of the space debris pieces that react with the atmosphere and create the Leonids. It takes 33 years for the comet to orbit the Sun one time. 

Picture of the Leonids in 1998. The Leonids are usually one of the more prolific annual meteor showers, with fast, bright meteors associated with comet Tempel-Tuttle

The Leonids, 1998. With fast-moving meteors that are associated with Tempel–Tuttle, the Leonids are one of the most prolific meteor showers each year.


The best way to view meteor showers is with clear skies and no clouds on nights when there aren’t any. 

Look for areas with clear skies, a unobstructed view of the horizon, and little light pollution

You should ensure there is no light source in your eyes. This will allow you to adapt to local conditions, and make fainter meteors visible. 

There’s no advantage to using binoculars or a telescope; just look up with your own eyes to take in the widest possible view of the sky.

Source: Royal Observatory Greenwich 

Tempel-Tuttle is a small comet – its nucleus measures only about 2.24 miles (3.6 km) across, comparable in size to the island of Manhattan. 

Its debris fragments burn up and vaporise before they hit the Earth’s surface – causing a streak of hot air which we see as a shooting star.

You can see beautiful stars in the night sky due to cosmic particles that are as tiny as one grain of sand.   

Radiant (the place where meteors appear to stream from), is located at the head of Leo the Lion. This shower’s name comes from it.  

MailOnline has learned that the Leonids meteor Shower is named after Leo the Lion’s constellation. Anna Gammon Ross (astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich) told MailOnline.

“This is because although meteors are all around the sky, all of them appear to emanate or appear from a single constellation. 

The shower will continue at a lower rate for several days if the peak time is missed. There should still be ample opportunities to view the show. 

Gammon Ross said that the radiant (the best region for them to be seen) would rise Wednesday night just after 10pm in the UK.

“So when Leo is up high, it’s best to be on the lookout for this shower in the early morning.” 

Earth’s viewers might experience a Leonid storm every 33 years. This can be accompanied by hundreds or thousands of meteors each hour. It all depends on where the viewer is located.

NASA says: ‘Viewers in 1966 experienced a spectacular Leonid storm – thousands of meteors per minute fell through Earth’s atmosphere during a 15 minute period. 

“There were many meteors that appeared as if they had fallen like rain. The 2002 Leonid meteorstorm was the last. 

After the Leonids, there will be another two meteor showers in 2021 – the Geminids, which will peak December 14-15, and the Ursids, which peak December 21-22. 

Explained – The differences between an asterroid, meteorite, and other space rock

This article is about asteroid A large amount of rock that was left from the collisions and early solar system. They are found between Mars and Jupiter within the Main Belt.

visit A rock that has been covered in methane, ice and other compounds. Their orbits lead them further from the solar system.

Meteor This is what astronomers refer to as a flashing light in the atmosphere that occurs when debris starts burning up.

It is sometimes called a debris. meteoroidThese are the. They are often so tiny that they evaporate in the air.

It is named a meteoroid if it reaches Earth. Meteorite

Asteroids and comets are the usual sources of meteoroids, meteoroids, and meteorites.

If Earth crosses the tail of comet, some of its debris is emitted into the atmosphere. This creates a meteor shower.