cover image


Meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel–Tuttle / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Leonids?

Summarize this article for a 10 year old


The Leonids (/ˈlənɪdz/ LEE-ə-nidz) are a prolific annual meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel–Tuttle, and are also known for their spectacular meteor storms that occur about every 33 years.[5] The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in 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[citation needed] and it has been used since. The meteor shower peak should be on 17 November, but any outburst in 2023 is likely to be from the 1767 meteoroid stream.[6]

Quick facts: Leonids, Pronunciation, Discovery date, Paren...
A Leonid meteor during the peak of the Leonids in 2009
Discovery date902 AD (first record)[1]
Parent body55P/Tempel–Tuttle[2]
Right ascension10h 17m [3]
Occurs during3 November – 2 December[3]
Date of peak17 November
Velocity70–71[3][4] km/s
Zenithal hourly rate15[3]
See also: List of meteor showers

Earth moves through meteoroid streams left from passages of a comet. The streams consist of solid particles, known as meteoroids, normally ejected by the comet as its frozen gases evaporate under the heat of the Sun when it is near the Sun – typically closer than Jupiter's orbit. Due to the retrograde orbit of 55P/Tempel–Tuttle, the Leonids are fast moving streams which encounter the path of Earth and impact at 70 km/s (43 mi/s).[3] It is the fastest annual meteor shower.[3] Larger Leonids which are about 10 mm (0.4 in) across have a mass of 0.5 g (0.02 oz) and are known for generating bright (apparent magnitude −1.5) meteors.[7] 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,[8] and to a lesser extent by radiation pressure from the Sun  the Poynting–Robertson effect and the Yarkovsky effect.[9] 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 18 November, 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.

The Leonids also produce meteor storms (very large outbursts) about every 33 years, during which activity exceeds 1,000 meteors per hour,[10] with some events exceeding 100,000 meteors per hour,[11] in contrast to the sporadic background (5 to 8 meteors per hour) and the shower background (several meteors per hour).

Table info: Size, Apparent Magnitude, Comparable in brigh...
Size Apparent Magnitude Comparable in brightness
2 mm (0.08 in)+3.7 (visual)Delta Ursae Majoris
10 mm (0.4 in)−1.5 (bright)Sirius
20 mm (0.8 in)−3.8 (Fireball)Venus

Oops something went wrong: