Science

Amazing Leonid Meteor Shower Photos Captured By Stargazers

  • Night sky photographer Mike Hankey of Freeland, Md., captured this dazzling Leonid meteor on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.

    Night sky photographer Mike Hankey of Freeland, Md., captured this dazzling Leonid meteor on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.  (Mike Hankey)

  • Photographer Scott Tully captured this view of a Leonid meteor over rural Connecticut before sunrise on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.

    Photographer Scott Tully captured this view of a Leonid meteor over rural Connecticut before sunrise on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.  (Scott Tully)

  • This full-frame view of a Leonid meteor was captured by astrophotographer Mike Hankey of Freeland, Md., before dawn on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.

    This full-frame view of a Leonid meteor was captured by astrophotographer Mike Hankey of Freeland, Md., before dawn on Nov. 17, 2012, during the peak of the annual Leonid meteor shower.  (leonid meteor shower, 2012 leonid meteor shower photos, leonids, comet tempel-tuttle, meteor showers, meteor photos, shooting stars display, skywatching, amateur astronomy)

The Leonid meteor shower peaked early Saturday (Nov. 17), and some night sky watchers caught a great view.

The Leonids are a yearly meteor display of shooting stars that appear to radiate out of the constellation Leo. They are created when Earth crosses the path of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which swings through the inner solar system every 33 years.

This year, the Leonids are offering an especially good show because the moon is only in its crescent phase right now (so its light isn't too bright to wash out the meteors) and it sets in the west long before the constellation Leo begins to rise into the night sky.

One skywatcher, photographer Scott Tully in rural Connecticut, was delighted to snap a photo of a bright Leonid meteor as it streaked overhead just after 5 a.m. EST on Saturday. He summed the experience up in one word: "Amazing!"

Another observer, Mike Hankey of Freeland, Md., also snapped gorgeous photos of the Leonids before dawn Saturday morning.

While the first peak time to see the Leonids this year passed this morning, there's still a chance of catching a good show. These meteors are expected to offer a second peak of activity this coming Tuesday morning, Nov. 20.

Editor's note: If you snap an amazing photo of the Leonid meteor shower and would like to share it with SPACE.com for a possible story or image gallery, send images, comments and location information to managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.