These are the depictions of the most intense meteor shower in recorded history – the Leonid meteor storm of 1833. The Leonid meteor shower is annually active in the month of November, and it occurs when the Earth passes through the debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. While the typical rates are about 10 to 15 meteors per hour, the storm of 1833 is speculated to have been over 100,000 meteors per hour, frightening people half to death. Here’s how Agnes Clerke, an astronomer witnessing the event, described it: “On the night of November 12-13, 1833, a tempest of falling stars broke over the Earth… The sky was scored in every direction with shining tracks and illuminated with majestic fireballs. At Boston, the frequency of meteors was estimated to be about half that of flakes of snow in an average snowstorm.” (x)
The meteor shower is caused by the Earth plowing through a stream of sand-sized ice particles shed years ago by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Note that the meteors can all be tracked back to a radiant in the constellation Leo, the direction from which the particles orbit the Sun.
On Mt. Lemmon again for the Leonid meteor shower. The Taurids were peaking around this time as well, though there were only ~10 meteors/hour at best so I only managed to capture a few (and Andromeda at the top right). However, the Geminids are coming soon around December 13th with a rate of over 100/hr! Can’t wait to shoot that. The star trails are about 15 minutes. Also on Flickr & 500px
You can still admire the Leonids shower tonight(November 18th, 2014)! It’s the most famous meteor shower and it only happens once a year!
It can be admired from anywhere in Canada and mainly throughout the northern hemisphere, clear skies permitting! The best time to view the meteor shower with your naked eye should be between midnight and dawn.
Leonid meteors rained down on planet Earth this week, the annual shower of dusty debris from the orbit of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Leonids streak through this composite night skyview from a backyard observatory in southern Ontario. Recorded with camera fixed to a tripod, the individual frames capture the bright meteor activity throughout the night of November 16/17, about a day before the shower’s very modest peak. The frames are registered to the fixed field of view, so the meteor trails are not all aligned to the background star field recorded that evening when Orion stood above the southern horizon. As a result, the trails don’t appear to point back to the shower’s radiant in Leo, situated off the left edge of the star field frame. In fact, some trails could be of Taurid meteors, a shower also active in November, or even sporadic meteors, including a bright fireball with its reflection near the horizon.