Science

Searching the Sky: The Leonid Meteor Shower

The Leonid meteors come from the comet 55/Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years this comet passes through the inner solar system and sheds new filaments of debris, adding to the general meteor stream.

This article was contributed by community member David Baumgartner as part of a local series on astronomy.

On the night and early morning of Nov. 17-18, the Leonid meteors will show off for us. Mostly a weak shower, but at times could feature brief outbursts that one would not want to miss.

The Leonid meteors come from the comet 55/Tempel-Tuttle. Every 33 years this comet passes through the inner solar system and sheds new filaments of debris, adding to the general meteor stream. When Earth encounters one of these dense new filaments we can get a very strong display of “shooting stars” (if you want to call them that).

The skies should be excellent for the show until the waning gibbous moon pops up in the picture early in the morning, which just happens to be the best time to view the shower. And of course barring any problems with Mother Nature. All you need is your own pair of eyes, some warm clothing and you are ready to go. Get on the internet and find the location of Leo the Lion, that is where the showers will emanate from. Unfortunately the moon is only 20 degrees to the west of Leo blocking out most of the smaller meteors. Give it a try and take a look, you just might be surprised.

Clear skies.

November Calendar

Nov. 17: Leonid meteor showers peaks
Nov. 19: Last quarter Moon occurs at 1:11 p.m.
Nov. 20: Moon is 4.3* degrees south of Mars
Nov. 20: New Moon
Nov. 20: Moon is 5.3* degrees south of Jupiter
Nov. 21: Moon is 4.9* degrees south of Venus
Nov. 23: Moon is closest to Earth (perigee-227,867mi)
Nov. 24: Moon passes 4* north of Mars at 1 a.m.
Nov. 24: Venus passes 1.4*south of Jupiter at 6 a.m.
Nov. 24: Moon passes 1.9* north of Mercury at 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: New Moon occurs at 7:06 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes .7* north of Jupiter at 3 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes 1.9* north of Venus at 11 a.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes .9* south of Saturn at 1 p.m.
Nov. 28: Moon passes 0.5* south of Pluto at 8 p.m.

 

David Baumgartner

I am a local fella. Local schools from Fremont, Sacred Heart, Santa Anita, Hollister High, to San Benito Jr. Collage (Now Gavilan). Then joined the US Air Force where I specialized in Airborne Radar. Married my high school sweetheart JoAnne., shortly after three children arrived; Cindi, Michael, and Lisa. Somehow we ended up with nine Grandchildren.  Went on to San Luis Obispo, Guesta, Collages, and on to Univ. of New Mexico. Came back to Hollister. Opened up Three Pet Stores; Dave's Aquarium Pets & Supplies in SLO, Watsonvile, and Hollister. The family spent two and a half years running a ranch up in Oregon. Made our way back to Hollister.  Got my Real Estate Licence in 1982, opened my own office in 93'. In the mean time raised Swans and revitalized my old hobby of Astronomy.  In 2001 I was named Chamber of Commence Man of the Year. I think I was the only one nominated. I don't care, I'm taking it. Now in December of 2018 I retired. Not sure if I was forced out or not. Non the less, I am retired, at 77 years of age I think it was time. Now the last thing I have to do is buy a coffin. I hear COSCO sells them now. But the only drawback is; you have to buy them in lots of six.  I guess I could buy them for the whole family. Not that funny, but thrifty.