Leonids Meteor Shower 2023

celestial events Nov 04, 2023

The Leonids is an annual meteor shower known for its occasional meteor storms that light up the night sky. The meteor shower starts its origin with the debris shed by 55P/Temple Tuttle, the parent comet, as it completes one orbit around the sun every 33 years. When this comet nears the sun, it releases a trail of dust and particles. As the Earth's orbit intersects this debris path, a meteor shower ensues, creating a stunning celestial phenomenon.

Each year, the Leonids meteor shower starts at the beginning of November and peaks around November 17th to the18th. The shower seems to radiate from the constellation Leo, earning its name "Leonids." The radiant point is located near the brilliant star Regulus in the Leo constellation, serving as the focal point from which the meteors appear to originate. The Leonids shower concludes in the first few days of December.

Meteor showers are composed of microscopic cosmic pieces, mainly dust and small pebbles, which burn up in the Earth's atmosphere due to friction. The Leonids are renowned for their spectacular fireballs and rapid meteors, occasionally erupting into meteor storms. These storms, characterized by unusually intense meteor activity, can unleash hundreds or even thousands of meteors per hour. The Leonids had notable storms in 1833 and 1966.

While the Leonids offer a month-long show, the challenge often lies in having clear weather for optimal viewing. Early morning hours prove to be an excellent time for observing, providing a tranquil setting for stargazers to enjoy the spectacle.

Additional resources to explore:

-Eyes on NASA