Some meteor showers are like a gentle rain of cosmic dust, peppering the earth’s atmosphere with a dozen or so meteors per hour. Others, like the rare 1966 Leonid storm pictured above, bombards us with thousands of meteors per hour.
2013 is not a banner year for meteors, but there are some great shows to be seen, if the weather is right.
Check out this lovely collection of pictures of the Aug 2013 Perseid meteor shower. Your next chance to see a great meteor shower will be the Gemenids in mid December. A full moon will interfere with the November Leonids.
Meteor showers are really flashes of comet dust. They are named for the constellation from which they radiate. Some years are more spectacular than others. Check out this ScienCentral video archival report about the 2001 Leonids and other spectacular storms.
NASA has a meteor guide with lots more information:
Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Peak Activity: Aug. 11-12, 2013
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Up to 60 meteors per hour
Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Peak Activity: Nov. 16-17, 2013
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 meteors per hour
Comet of Origin: 3200 Phaethon
Peak Activity: Dec. 13-14, 2013
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 120 meteors per hour