Tech UPTechnologyThe Leonid Meteor Shower 2019

The Leonid Meteor Shower 2019


Leonids are prone to large “meteor storms” once every 33 years and the last time we had a chance to see this spectacle was in 1999 and the rate reached 3,000 meteors per hour at its peak. However, although 2019 is not a “storm year”, it is always worth keeping an eye out for this rain since, historically, the Leonids are one of the most popular meteor showers historically.


These meteors come from the debris of Comet 55P / Tempel-Tuttle discovered in 1865, a debris cloud that interferes with Earth every November. In 2019, the peak or maximum point of the Leonids is established on November 16, favoring Central Asia with an expected zenith hourly rate of 10-15 meteors per hour under ideal dark sky conditions and without light pollution. Both November 16 and 17 will be magnificent days to observe (the Leonids take place between November 6 and 30).


If you were expecting a real meteor storm, this is not the year. According to forecasts, we will have to wait until 2032 to see another singular moment like that in the night sky.


The Leonids radiate from the constellation of Leo – between the constellations of Cancer and Virgo – and are usually rock fragments of around 1 cm in size, which are introduced into the Earth’s atmosphere at about 45 miles per second . Remember that they are bright meteors that can be glimpsed between white and green or bluish colors.


The radiating point is an optical illusion (like standing on the train tracks and looking into the distance to see the tracks converge). The radiant point illusion is caused by the fact that meteorites, like train tracks, move on parallel paths. Remember that meteorites do not usually become visible until they are approximately 30 degrees from their radiant point; they come out of the radiant in all directions, you don’t have to look at any particular point.

Like many comets, Tempel-Tuttle ‘litters’ its orbit with bits of debris. It is when these comet debris enter Earth’s atmosphere and vaporize that we see the meteor shower. And what about the Moon? Unfortunately,
the Moon will make visibility difficult, so the best time to observe should be the first part of the night, before the Moon rises, as a waning gibbous moon will illuminate the morning sky this year, to obstruct a bit. Leonidas of 2019. This shouldn’t put you off; Going out to watch a meteor shower is always a good option even without optimal conditions.

How to observe the meteor shower

As with the other meteor showers, you don’t need any optical devices. With the naked eye, with the largest possible field of vision (without the presence of buildings, trees or mountains), in the dark, without pollution near cities and better lying down or in a hammock, they are the ideal conditions for perfect observation. We can see meteors anywhere in the sky, but fixing our eyes on the surroundings of the radiant, in this case the constellation of Leo, is the best option.

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