Shooting stars over Moscow: The Leonids meteor shower

Shooting stars over Moscow: The Leonids meteor shower
Up to 15 meteors per hour are expected to fly by in the sky. In clear weather, even with the naked eye people will be able to see this.

Leonids meteor shower will be able to be seen in the sky over Moscow on the night of November 17. The annual November star shower got its name because of its radiance (the celestial point in the sky from which the meteors’ paths appear to originate) in the constellation Leo.

In clear weather, shooting stars will be visible without the aid of a telescope or binoculars, with the naked eye. The Leonids differ from other meteoric showers by their brightness and speed. Meteors accelerate up to 70km per second.

“Every autumn, our planet meets with several meteor showers. Meteors, that is, shooting stars, emerge when particles of cosmic dust enter the atmosphere and burn up there. Meteor showers are usually associated with the Earth’s passage through plumes of dust from comets. The brightest autumn star shower is the November Leonids meteor shower. It is best to watch it after midnight, when the constellation Leo rises high above the horizon. This year we expect up to 15 meteors per hour,” the press service of the Moscow Planetarium informed.

This time, the moon, which will be in the first quarter phase, will not interfere with admiring the autumn falling stars, as it will disappear beyond the horizon after 1am, the press service added.

The earliest mention of the Leonids meteor shower dates back to 901. Its source is the Comet Tempel-Tuttle, discovered in 1865. With a core diameter of four km, it revolves around the sun in approximately 33.2 years. Every 33 years, the Leonid meteor shower produces the most intense stellar rain. The brightest shower in history came in 1833, when people on Earth observed thousands of shooting stars in the sky. There were so many meteors that it seemed to be snowing.

This meteor shower was immortalised in the legends of the Indians; in 1934, even a jazz song was released called Stars Fell on Alabama. It was performed by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

A Moscow Planetarium mobile app will help study the astronomy and will also help users to be the first to know about the most relevant news from the world of space science. The new service will be developed by the end of the year. At this stage, people can choose what functions it will have via the online project, Active Citizen.