July 23, 2014

Will the Leonids Perform in 2009?

Looking East at about 1:30 AM local. (Credit: Redshift 7).

Looking East at about 1:30 AM local. (Credit: Redshift 7).

This week marks the return of the Space Shuttle Atlantis to orbit for its second to last flight, as well as the peak of the Leonid meteor shower. This is the notorious shower that has produced storm level peaks in access of 10,000 per hour in 1966 and 1833. This storm emanates from material shed by comet 51P Temple-Tuttle, and generally peaks once every 33 years or so around November 17th. Most years, the Leonids are a feeble 10 meteors per hour shower barely warranting attention. [Read more...]

Astro Event of the Week; November 17th-23rd: The Leonids.

Leonids.

The Leonid Radiant. (Credit: Meteor Showers Online).

   Hang on for one the biggest, baddest meteor showers of all; the Leonids are scheduled to peak this year on the morning of November 17th. radiating from the asterism known as “the Sickle” in the constellation Leo the Lion,  the Leonids are debris left over from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Most years, the Leonids are feeble, only generating 10 meteors per hour, but every 33 years or so, (most recently the 1998-1999 seasons) this shower becomes a true meteor storm. Will the Leonids produce this year? The only sure way to tell is to keep an eye on the sky the early morning hours this week! The waning gibbous Moon may thwart some of the fainter meteors, but check it out and note what you see, none the less!

   This weeks’ Astro-word of the week is Bolide. A meteor becomes a bolide (think “blow up”) when it explodes in our atmosphere… and impressive sight, indeed!