Leonids Meteor Shower

As the Earth orbits around the Sun, it from time to time passes through the dust trail left by one comet or another. Halley’s comet for instance has passed us by hundreds of thousands of times, leaving a trail of particles in it’s wake each time. These particles range in size from mere dust particles to tiny grains of sand. When the Earth passes through the trail of particles, they enter our atmosphere which heats them up to a super white hot temperature…… bringing about what is a called a shooting star.

Leonids Meteor Shower (Click to Enlarge)

At the moment the Earth is going through one such trail of dust. This dust originates from comet  Temple-Tuttle which passes by the Sun every 33 years. Now the Earth is not going through a path of dust left behind when Temple-Tuttle last passed us by. Instead we are going through a path of dust left by the comet way back in the years 1466 and 1533.

This morning the Earth was going through a peak period where we would be able to see meteors in the sky from what is called the Leonid meteor shower. This was between 8 am and 9am this morning Sydney time. Sadly however the weather has not been kind to us again.

I woke up in the early hours of this morning and saw nothing but overcast conditions.  The clouds had spoiled the party again.

However, even though we missed the peak time where we could have seen hundreds of meteors an hour, but most likely a lot less than that, the Earth is still going through the trail left by comet Temple-Tuttle until Monday 23rd November. So if you do happen to be out and about in the early hours of the morning, specifically between 2am and sunrise, keep an eye out for any meteors in the sky.

From Sydney you will want to generally keep an eye on the sky north-east of sydney over the next 4 nights  if you want to spot these meteors, but generally they could appear anywhere in the sky.

~ by sydneystargazers on November 18, 2009.

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