Leonid Meteor Shower

Leonid Meteor Shower

Button controls

Help button
Help button: This button will open a window with help information.
Toggle button
Show comet path: This button will load a new applet.
Bouton mise en marche
Play: This button will begin the meteor shower animation.
Bouton pause
Pause: This button will halt the meteor shower animation.
Reset button
Reset: This button will reset the applet.

Using the applet

This applet has been designed to simulate the Leonid meteor shower. The meteors all appear to originate from the constellation Leo. The frequency of meteors shown in the applet is significantly higher than would actually be observed. This helps to reinforce the idea that meteors during a shower originate from a small area in the sky. The red streaks represent exceptionally bright meteors. The brightest meteors are callled fireballs.

Students can also click on the "Show comet path" button to load a new applet depicting the path of a short-period comet through the solar system. After showing two full cometary orbits, the new applet will zoom in on the point where the Earth's orbit crosses the cometary debris path. Students should then realize that the cometary debris path is the source of the meteors during the Leonid meteor shower.

Download the Flash Applet