Leonid Meteors



12:45am to 3:45 am, Sunday Nov. 18, 2001

95% of the meteors we observed were outside the camera's field of view.

But we were able to catch a few near the radiant in the constellation Leo.

The earth, in it's orbit around the sun, travels in a slightly elliptical path.

In other words - almost, but not quite, circular.

Since we never travel in a straight line, our direction is always changing.

At any given instant our heading through the cosmos is tangential to our orbit.

But during the time of this exposure, we were traveling in the

general direction of the blue circle I added to the image,

and our atmosphere swept up and incinerated these 8 grains of dust left

by Comet Tempel-Tuttle, probably in its 1767 swing around the sun.

If so, these tiny grains of dust had been orbiting the sun for 230+ years

- since about 10 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.