Many skywatchers in India and around the globe are poised for a cosmic treat—the Leonid Meteor Shower, which has already been underway since November 6, is set to reach its peak in the pre-dawn hours of November 17–18, 2023.
GS I: Geography
Dimensions of the Article:
- Leonid Meteor Shower
Leonid Meteor Shower:
- Origin: The Leonid meteor shower is caused by the dust and debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle.
- Peak Period: It typically peaks in mid-November each year.
- Name Origin: The shower is named after the Leo constellation, as the meteors appear to radiate from this celestial region.
- Comet Tempel-Tuttle: The Tempel-Tuttle comet completes its orbit around the sun every 33 years.
Formation of Dust Cloud:
- When the comet approaches the sun, it warms up, releasing a significant amount of material that forms a dense cloud of dust and gas around it.
- This cloud follows the comet’s orbit and gradually disperses over time.
Annual Earth Crossing:
- Every year in mid-November, Earth crosses the orbit of Tempel-Tuttle and may encounter the comet’s dust cloud.
- Dust particles from the comet’s debris enter Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds (around 70 km/s).
- The friction with the atmosphere causes the particles to catch fire, creating bright streaks of light in the sky—observed as meteors during the Leonid meteor shower.
- The Leonids are known for occasionally causing meteor storms, characterized by a higher influx of meteors during specific years.
-Source: Indian Express