It should be a poor yr for some of the well-known meteor showers, the Leonids.
This yr’s Leonids, which peak in a single day tonight and Monday morning (Nov. 17-18), are more likely to be a giant downer for 2 causes. The bathe itself is predicted to be gentle, and there will likely be a waning gibbous moon lighting up the predawn sky.
The Leonid meteor bathe is among the most well-known of the annual meteor shows. The title acknowledges that the bathe’s radiant level, from which the meteors appear to fan out, is positioned throughout the Sickle, the backward-question-mark star sample throughout the constellation of Leo (therefore, Leonids) that marks the pinnacle and mane of the lion.
This meteor bathe is brought on by Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which sweeps by means of the inside photo voltaic system each 33.three years. Every time the comet makes its closest move to the solar, the traveler leaves a stream of cosmic detritus in its wake. This dense path of dusty particles could cause a extra dramatic meteor storm if the Earth scores a direct hit on a contemporary mud path ejected by the comet.
However the comet will not be resulting from move by means of the inside photo voltaic system once more till the yr 2031, so this yr’s Leonids are anticipated to indicate solely low exercise, with at finest 10 to perhaps 15 meteors per hour.
This yr’s Leonids will even be outshone by the moon. As the height of the bathe throughout the predawn hours of Monday, Nov. 18, the moon will likely be proper subsequent door, simply 20 levels away, the equal of two clenched fists held at arm’s size.