The Celestial Spectacle: Leonid Meteor Shower

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November 18, 2023

The Celestial Spectacle: Leonid Meteor Shower

A Celestial Spectacle: The Leonid Meteor Shower Illuminates the Night


  • Enthusiastic skywatchers across India and worldwide are eagerly anticipating the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower, currently underway since November 6 and expected to reach its zenith in the pre-dawn hours of November 17–18, 2023.

Understanding the Leonid Meteor Shower

  • This breathtaking phenomenon is a result of dust and debris left behind by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Typically reaching its climax in mid-November, the shower derives its name from the Leo constellation, the apparent point of origin for these mesmerizing meteors.

The Cosmic Dance of Tempel-Tuttle Comet

  • The Tempel-Tuttle comet orbits the sun at consistent intervals of 33 years. As it approaches the sun, it undergoes warming, releasing copious amounts of material, forming an expansive cloud of dust and gas that trails along its orbit.

Earth’s Encounter with Tempel-Tuttle’s Debris

  • Annually, Earth intersects the orbit of Tempel-Tuttle in mid-November, occasionally encountering the comet’s dust cloud. This intersection marks the entrance of dust particles into Earth’s atmosphere at staggering speeds of approximately 70 km/s. Subsequently, these particles ignite, producing luminous streaks of light in the sky—what we witness as the captivating Leonid meteor shower.

Unique Characteristics of the Leonids

  • Notably, the Leonids are renowned for occasionally inducing meteor storms, manifesting as an increased influx of meteors streaking across the sky.


  • The Leonid Meteor Shower, born from the remnants of Tempel-Tuttle’s cosmic journey, offers a spellbinding display of nature’s grandeur, enchanting observers with its radiant celestial spectacle.

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The Celestial Spectacle: Leonid Meteor Shower | Vaid ICS Institute