The Leonids are back tonight. More accurately, the earth’s orbit is making its annual foray through the dusty trail of debris shed by Comet Tempel Tuttle, producing this year’s Leonid meteor shower. After a mundane showing in 2008, NASA scientists predicted a “strong display” this year, though not on the order of the brilliant sky shows of the 1999, 2001 and 2002 Leonids.

“We expect the Leonids to produce upwards of 500 meteors per hour,” Bill Cooke of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center said in a NASA press release.

Peak viewing will be from 1 a.m. to dawn Tuesday morning, and of course the countryside will offer a better spectacle than the city. Word on the street is that Yale Outdoors is organizing a trip for students to venture outside the city limits in order to see the meteor shower more clearly; e-mail if interested.