These are the depictions of the most intense meteor storm 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.
The Leonids is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky.
Earth moves through the meteoroid stream of particles left from the passages of a comet. The stream comprises solid particles, known as meteoroids, ejected by the comet as its frozen gases evaporate under the heat of the Sun when it is close enough – typically closer than Jupiter’s orbit. The Leonids are a fast moving stream which encounter the path of Earth and impact at 72 km/s. Larger Leonids which are about 10 mm across have a mass of half a gram and are known for generating bright (apparent magnitude -1.5) meteors. An annual Leonid shower may deposit 12 or 13 tons of particles across the entire planet.
The Leonids tend to peak around November 18, but some are spread through several days on either side and the specific peak changes every year.