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Table of Contents Enchanted Learning
All About Astronomy
Site Index
Our Solar System Stars Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities
The Sun The Planets The Moon Asteroids Kuiper Belt Comets Meteors Astronomers

Comets
Introduction to Comets Crossing a Comet's Orbit: Meteor Showers Comet Origins Major Comets Acitvities,
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CROSSING A COMET'S ORBIT: METEOR SHOWERS

radiantThe Earth passes through the orbit of some comets. When this happens, the left-over comet debris (rocks, etc.) bombards the Earth and they burn up in our atmosphere. This is called a meteor shower. In it, many meteors fall through the atmosphere in a relatively short time and in approximately parallel trajectories.

Each meteor shower occurs at a predictable time each year. Meteor showers are named after the constellation they seem to originate from (their radiant). The next HUGE meteor shower (a meteor storm) will be the Leonid shower of November, 1999, which is expected to produce up to thousands of meteorite each hour.

Meteor Shower Approximate Dates Date of Maximum Approximate Hourly Rate of Meteors Velocity
km/sec
Parent Comet
Quadrantids (visible by Boötes) Dec. 8-Jan. 7 Jan. 3 40-60 42 unknown
Lyrids Apr. 16-25 Apr. 22 10-15 48 Thatcher 18611
Eta Aquarids April 21-May 12 May 5-6 20-50 66 Halley (periodic)
Delta Aquarids July 14-Aug.18 July 28-29 20 41 unknown
Perseids July 23-Aug. 22 Aug. 12 50-75 60 Swift-Tuttle (periodic)
Orionids Oct. 15-29 Oct. 21-22 20-25 66 Halley (periodic)
Southern Taurids Sept 17-Nov. 27 Oct. 30- Nov. 7 10-15 x Encke (periodic)
Leonids Nov. 14-20 Nov. 17-18 15-80+++ 71 Tempel-Tuttle (periodic)
Geminids Dec. 6-19 Dec. 13-14 50-85 35 Asteroid #3200 Phaeton
Ursids Dec. 17-25 Dec. 22 15 34 Tuttle




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