Leonid Meteor Shower: Impact?

I know this is an annual event (my husband just tonight alerted me to it's impending appearance)--the Leonid meteor shower--but I am still reeling from the video we saw last night, a 3-hour production made from the TV mini-series, "Impact."

It is a science-fiction story about a meteor shower during which a brown dwarf crashes into the moon and jars it out of it's orbit, putting it on a collision course with Earth. The brown dwarf embedded in the moon also has a mass twice the mass of Earth and a strong magnetic and gravitational pull, and wreaks havoc on Earth with intermittent EMP events and gravitational anomalies. I have no idea whether or not this is scientifically possible, but I have to admit, the premise gave me pause.

Now, with the Leonid Meteor Shower about to present on or about November 17th, I am thinking, we are so vulnerable here on our little lonely planet, out there by itself in vast space. . .

Ok, enough of that. What we'll do is just break out the ol' telescope (yes, we have one), and prepare to watch it. Hope it's beautiful; and nothing more.

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Anonymous said…
The Leonids result from the earth passing through the particles left by the passing of comet Tempel-Tuttle. Comets are sometimes called "dirty snowballs" as they are mostly made of frozen gases, dust, and rock.

The particle stream results from the comet passing near the sun and the gases evaporating in a trail, along with the loosening of the dust and rock particles which enter the stream.

There are no brown dwarves, asteroids, or football-field sized chunks of rocks in the particle stream.

Incedentally, many of the meteor trails that one sees are the result of very small particles entering the atmosphere. They look spectacular, so we would naturally think they're huge, but most are probably the size of a shelled peanut when they first hit the atmosphere and begin to burn - and most of those are completely disintegrated while still very high up.

So, don't worry, and enjoy the meteor shower.
Lady-Light said…
Anon: Thank you for the information! I know what a comet and an asteroid are. The film just reminded me how at the mercy of...everything...we are.
Thank you for your visit--come again, and bring your friends.
Meteor Shower said…
You won't need a telescope to view any meteor shower. In fact a telescope will make you see less meteors than more. I will be posting some articles on my site about the Leonids, don't be scared, enjoy it!
Lady-Light said…
Meteor: omigosh, I got a comment from a meteor shower! Actually, in searching for info about meteors and their showers(!), I actually came across your site, believe it or not...
So, what's wrong with a telescope? Narrows the viewing field, that's all; right?
Anonymous said…
I was just reading the news this morning and found this interview with astronomer Mike Brown. Part of it reminded me of your blog post.

It was about his discoveries in the Kuiper Belt, but in it he addresses the issue of how unlikely it would be to have a Brown Dwarf or other large object sneak up on us.

This is no to say that such an object could never enter the solar system, but if there was something at a threatening distance, its presence would be detectable by its pull on other objects in the solar system by now.


Enjoy the skies! :)
Lady-Light said…
Anon: You are correct, the chances are slim to none.

I found an interesting site for questions relating to this; apparently it's a hot topic (that's Hollywood for ya):


Have a great day (and night)!
Pesky Settler said…
For viewing meteor showers the only extra hardware you'll need is a chair you can lean back in and a blanket. Make sure you're also away from as much light pollution as possible.

Reports are, this year's meteor shower should be a spectacular one with lots of expected meteors to be seen.

And yes, using the telescope limits your field of vision.
Lady-Light said…
Pesky: The thing is, as you said, we have to drive to find a place with less "urban effect." That may mean going out of the city לגמרי .
Which might be lots of fun, actually...have to suggest it to my husband.
Pesky Settler said…
GoogleEarth is actually a wonderful resource for this. Since they have a 'satellite' view feature, click on it at your location with the 'night view'.

My husband also suggests googling to find your local astronomy club and they could probably tell you where you can see things without having to drive to another state :)

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