Shooting Stars Leonids

 

Every year between the 13th and 21st of November, the Earth crosses the orbit of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. In our atmosphere its fragments burn and cause a sparkling spectacle of nature - shooting stars! Their apparent starting point, the radiant, is located in the constellation of Leo, which is why they are called Leonids. At about 71 kilometres per second, the shooting stars race along the sky.

History

The meteor stream of the Leonids is already more than 1,100 years old. A key event for astronomy was the rain of burning stripes in 1833, when up to 240,000 shooting stars were visible in North America during the night from the 12th to 13th of November. Meteor showers were not yet particularly explored at this time, that’s why the celestial event worried many people. At the same time, however, it also prompted the beginning of the study of the Leonids. The evaluation of ancient documents quickly led to the assumption that the shooting stars occur particularly frequently every 32 to 34 years. Today this is confirmed - approximately every 33 years the Earth crosses the orbit of the debris cloud of the comet, after it has crossed the inner solar system. This leads to a particularly high activity.

Leonids 2018

In 2018, the maximum will take place in the night of November 17, with up to 25 visible shooting stars per hour. The next eruption with a very high activity of 10,000 shooting stars per hour is expected in 2031.