Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leonid/Taurid meteor showers 2008

The Leonid meteor [compliments of Comet Tempel-Tuttle] shower 2008 will peak the morning of November 17th, but it appears that this year will be a fizzle and disappointment save for the die hard observer.

Historically, the Leonids have produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history, with rates as high as many thousands of meteors per hour. These storms often recur in cycles of 33 years. In 2008, we anticipate more of a whimper than a growl from Leo the Lion, with a maximum of perhaps 10-15 meteors per hour. Like the October Orionids, the Leonids produce swift-moving meteors, and tend to put out the greatest numbers just before dawn. The peak, however, on November 17, also features a large bright waning gibbous moon in the sky after midnight. Forget the Leonids this year, unless you are a serious meteor observer – or unless you happen to spot a few whizzing past in bright moonlight!--EarthSky Communications.

But, the lesser know Taurids [compliments of Comet Enke (the comet whose tail was ripped off by solar winds)] will have a "swarm year" this November 5th through the 12th.

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