Home Science The Leonids, a (spectacular) fall meteor shower that will be easy to...

The Leonids, a (spectacular) fall meteor shower that will be easy to see in 2023

The Leonids, a (spectacular) fall meteor shower that will be easy to see in 2023

It’s possible that if you think about it Star shower Your head goes to summer. The most famous meteor shower is the Perseids, which take place in August and, weather conditions and moonlight (or rather lack thereof) permitting, are one of the most spectacular astronomical spectacles of the year. However, another one repeats itself every autumn, that of Leonidasalso with a very high level of spectacle and that, although more complicated due to the weather station in which it takes place, is a gift for lovers of the night sky.

That of the Leonids is a Meteor shower This comes from fragments of space debris that interact with the atmosphere and come from space Comet 55P/Temple-Tuttle. It is a small comet whose nucleus is less than 4 kilometers in diameter and was discovered in 1865.

The Leonids are very bright meteors that can also be colored – mainly green like that of the northern lights – which travels at a speed of about 70 kilometers per hour and is one of the fastest meteors. They are also known for their fireballs and earth-flying meteors. According to NASA, fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can last longer than the average meteor impact. This is because the spheres are created from larger particles. The Meteors flying over the earth They are the ones that approach the horizon and leave long, colorful trails in the night sky.

The Leonid meteor shower takes place always in the month of Novemberand reached its peak around the middle of the month. According to the Madrid Planetarium, although the activity of the Leonids occurs almost throughout the month (from November 6th to 30th), the The best evening to enjoy them is November 17th-18th In particular, the peak of activity is expected around 6:33 a.m. on Saturday, November 18th. In addition, this year it will be easy to enjoy it (as long as the sky is not cloudy) due to the phase of the moon in which we are: between new moon and half moon, with 20% lighting.

Leonid storms every 33 years

Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle takes 33 years to orbit the Sun, and that means A special phenomenon occurs every 33 years: A Leonid storm is recorded. In 1966 – the image that illustrates this article is exactly a NASA photo taken that year – a spectacular meteor storm occurred, so great that observers saw thousands of meteors per minute for a period of fifteen minutes could see them falling through the atmosphere. They saw each other so many stars that seemed to fall like rain. The last Leonid storm occurred in 2002, so the next one is expected in 2035.

He The constellation Leo radiates from the Leonids. The radiant point is the area from which all meteors appear to come if we extend their trails. All the particles enter the atmosphere in parallel, but because they are so far away from us, the perspective is that they come from this single point.

To enjoy the Leonids, NASA recommends looking at more than just this constellation. In fact, they claim: “It is better to see the Leonids away from the radiation“, because “they will appear longer and more spectacular.” On the other hand, if you look directly at the shining point, you will see that the meteors are shorter thanks to a perspective effect called foreshortening.

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