The Leonid Meteor Shower and Comet Encke

Monday, November 17, 2003, at 10:00 p.m., L-Ahrax tal-Mellieha.

During this autumn, periodic comet Encke will be making a close approach to Earth when it should verge on naked-eye visibility. On this night the comet is expected to be still around 8th magnitude but it should be readily visible in telescopes in relatively dark skies. The famous Leonids are expected to peak just before dawn on November 18. Activity is likely to be declining following the 1999-2002 storms, though it could still be substantial. The Leonids are characterised by fast meteors, often showing persistent trains. The last quarter Moon will rise around 11 p.m. thus interfering with observations.