This brief movie captured a fireball bursting through the skies during the 2002 Leonid meteor shower. (NASA/MSFC/MEO/Bill Cooke).
Viewing campaigns resulted in spectacular footage from the 1999, 2001 and 2002, storms producing up to 3,000 Leonid meteors per hour. Predictions for the Moon's Leonid impacts also noted that in 2000 the side of the Moon facing the stream was away from the Earth but that impacts should be in number enough to raise a cloud of particles kicked off the Moon by impacts would cause a detectable increase in the sodium tail of the Moon. Research using the explanation of meteor trails/streams have explained the storms of the past. The 1833 storm was not due to the recent passage of the comet, but from a direct impact with the previous 1800 dust trail.The meteoroids from the 1733 passage of Comet Tempel-Tuttle resulted in the 1866 storm and the 1966 storm was from the 1899 passage of the comet. The double spikes in Leonid activity in 2001 and in 2002 were due to the passage of the comet's dust ejected in 1767 and 1866. This ground breaking work was soon applied to other meteor showers -- for example the 2004 June Bootids. Peter Jenniskens has published predictions for the next 50 years. However, a close encounter with Jupiter is expected to perturb the comet's path, and many streams, making storms of historic magnitude unlikely for many decades. Recent work tries to take into account the roles of differences in parent bodies and the specifics of their orbits, ejection velocities off the solid mass of the core of a comet, radiation pressure from the sun, the Poynting--Robertson effect, and the Yarkovsky effect on the particles of different sizes and rates of rotation to explain differences between meteor showers in terms of being predominantly fireballs or small meteors.The Leonids ) is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiantin the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. Their proper Greek name should be Leontids (Λεοντίδαι, Leontídai), but the word was initially constructed as a Greek/Latin hybrid and it is being used since. They peak in November.Earth moves through the meteoroid stream of particles left from the passages of acomet. The stream comprises solid particles, known as meteoroids, ejected by the comet as its frozen gases evaporate under the heat of the Sun when it is close enough -- typically closer than Jupiter's orbit. The Leonids are a fast moving stream which come close to or cross the path of the Earth and impact the Earth at 72 km/s. Leonids in particular are well known for having bright meteors or fireballswhich may be 9 mm across and have 85 g of mass and punch into the atmosphere with the kinetic energy of a car hitting at 60 mph. An annual Leonid shower may deposit 12 or 13 tons of particles across the entire planet.The meteoroids left by the comet are organized in trails in orbits similar to though different from that of the comet. They are differentially disturbed by the planets, in particular Jupiter and to a lesser extent by radiation pressure from the sun, thePoynting--Robertson effect, and the Yarkovsky effect.These trails of meteoroids cause meteor showers when Earth encounters them. Old trails are spatially not dense and compose the meteor shower with a few meteors per minute. In the case of the Leonids, that tends to peak around November 18, but some are spread through several days on either side and the specific peak changes every year. Conversely, young trails are spatially very dense and the cause of meteor outbursts when the Earth enters one. Meteor storms (large outbursts) exceed 1000 meteors per hour, to be compared to the annual background (1 to 2 meteors per hour) and the shower background (a few per hour).
Leonids Fireball, 2002 Leonids is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle WWW.GOODNEWS.WS
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