Field of Science


Leonids meteor shower 1833 RG Photo
The Leonids meteor shower by RG Photo.
The Leonid meteor shower peaks tonight in the early hours of this Tuesday morning.  The Leonids result from the earth's passage through debris left from comet Temple-Tuttle.  I would go into all this further, but the forecast for Seattle is rainy and cloudy for the next week, but perhaps you will have more luck observing the Leonids.  It should be a sight, around 500 meteors per hour, but it wont compare to the 1833 Leonid meteor shower:
One estimate was that over 240,000 meteors fell during that period, so many meteors in the sky at a time that many people were woken from their beds and stared at the sky in panic, believing the sky to be on fire. Many feared that it was the end of the world and dreaded what they would see at daybreak.
Update: I should clarify that when I refer to debris left by Temple-Tuttle I am referring to debris left by Temple-Tuttle's previous close passages to the sun which may have occurred long ago. For example the most recent close passage of Temple-Tuttle to the sun was 1998, but most of the meteorites seen in this shower were left by debris trails originating from passages in 1466 and 1533.  And finally here is a cool meteor detector that works by detecting reflected radio waves from the ionized trails created by particles of rock entering the upper atmosphere.

1 comment:

  1. Check it out:


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