We pass through the Geminid meteor stream
right around full Moon this year; the moonlight will wash out much of the show.
Terry Adkins's "Meteor Stream
," the culmination of a ten-year cycle on abolitionist John Brown, opened on the 150th anniversary of Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry--his legendary attempt to seize a government arsenal and initiate a slave revolt, the failure of which led to his hanging.
But it was a German scientist, Carl W Peters (1844 - 1894) who associated the Leonid meteor stream
with a comet discovered by Wilhelm Tempel in 1865 named 55P Tempel-Tuttle.
Although astronomers aren't at all sure that Earth's passage through the Leonid meteor stream
this November will prove a blockbuster, it's a good bet that the annual light show will be more intense than usual--even in North America, where viewers won't see the peak of activity that sky watchers in East Asia will witness.
According to Clube, the 1908 event seems to have been a remnant of Comet Enecke, which had a 3.3-year Earth-crossing ephemeris and may itself have been a maverick part of the annual Taurid meteor stream
. This devastating explosion that flattened hundreds of [km.sup.2] of forests was only hours away from occurring over a highly populated Europe - statistically an uncomfortable 9,000:1 near-miss.
This year Earth passes through the Geminid meteor stream
under a waning crescent Moon.
In early June 2017, a group of astronomers from the Czech Academy of Sciences addressed the increased risk that (https://phys.org/news/2017-06-czech-scientists-asteroid-earth.html) Earth will be hit by an asteroid from a newly discovered branch of the Taurids meteor stream
. Members of the new branch were on the International Astronomical Union's list of (http://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/Dangerous.html) "potentially hazardous" asteroids .
The meteor stream
is more than a million kilometers across, and the tiny dust grains that make it travel at about 60 kilometers per second.
The second key factor concerns exactly when the Earth crosses the mid-point of a meteor stream
. The concentration of particles is usually much greater along the stream's central portion, and that dense middle is often not very wide.
He said: "There is a danger - and again this is based on mathematical calculations - that Earth will intersect that bit of the Taurid meteor stream
that contains a large lump of debris within the next 20 years.
Associated with an asteroid--(3200) Phaethon--rather than a comet, the Geminid shower has grown in intensity since the 1980s as a result of the meteor stream
orbit being dragged gradually outwards across that of the Earth.
Vindication "The possible return of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor stream
, focused an unusual amount of attention on this year's Perseid shower....