The Leonid Meteor Display
– by Rob Tillett
The Leonids are a meteor shower that originates in the constellation of Leo the Lion, occurring in mid-November. At this time, planet Earth glides through a minefield of cosmic dust clouds from the tail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. When Earth travels through the cloud we experience a Leonid meteor shower. This year the Leonids are expected to peak on the night of Nov. 16th and 17th.
Aside from their occasional spectacular displays, the Leonids are important for understanding the origin of meteors and their relationship to comets. They play an important role in trying to predict meteor showers themselves. This year, a moderate display is predicted.
Meteors are the light trails we see when small dust grains or rocks enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Most of the meteors are caused by dust particles no bigger than a grain of sand. Meteor showers occur when a lot of dust and rock enter our atmosphere close together. These associations of dust and rock are thought to be debris ejected from comets (more rarely from asteroids) and the Leonids are associated with comet 55P/Temple Tuttle.
If you would like to read more, just click onto this link….