Recording a Meteor Shower

Recording a Meteor Shower

Posted by admin on November 14, 2012

During the Leonid meteor shower on Saturday, November 17, join other skywatchers in Michiana looking up in the northeasteastern sky. For any meteor shower you can trace the streaks of light back to a radiant, a point in the sky from which many of them seem to originate. In the Meteor Shower Activity, recreate that night's starfield on a paper plate and trace the meteors back to the radiant.

The Meteor Shower activity on Paper Plate Education suggests you make a template of the night sky, clamp it onto a stack of plates, and drill holes through the stars. Each person aligns their plate with the sky. Whenever a meteor is sighted, the observer draws on the plate the path of the meteor relative to the brighter stars.

A meteor shower occurs when earth passes through the debris trail left behind by a comet. As earth plows through that remnant, the comet dust streaks the atmosphere.

The name of the meteor shower refers to the constellation from which the shower emanates. The Leonids, for example, appear to streak outward from the head of Leo the Lion. While observers are gathering after 9:00 p.m. at Villa Macri in Granger, IN, the best times to see meteors traditionally are late at night and into the early hours.

The leading edge of the earth is the best place to see the incoming stream. It's akin to looking out the front window of a car at night with snow rushing into the headlights--much more action than looking out the back window.

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