There are several major meteor showers to enjoy every year at various times, with some more active than others. The 2010 Leonid meteor shower peaks the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17.
If you're viewing in dark conditions, the best viewing time will be after midnight, in the hours just before dawn. But don't expect too much. While the annual shower has been spectacular in the past, this year's 85% full moon will obstruct viewing for most backyard astronomers. At most, expect to see approximately 15 meteors per hour.
Whether you're watching from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars. Those streaks of light are really caused by tiny specks of comet-stuff hitting Earth's atmosphere at very high speed and disintegrating in flashes of light.