Discoveries from Observations and Modeling of the 1998/99 Leonids

Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)


The Leonid meteor storm of November 1999 entered the history books as the second in the space age, but was the first to be well observed. This was a rare encounter with fresh comet ejecta that can be precisely dated to the 1899 return of the parent comet. Earth’s atmosphere acted as a giant detector for measuring composition and morphology of large mm-cm sized grains during what was in effect a comet mission to 55P /Tempel-Tuttle. The high meteor flux and preponderance of persistent trains enabled the deployment of modern observing techniques to probe the chemistry and physics of the interaction of meteoric matter with the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to many discoveries of interest to a wide array of science fields such as astrobiology, planetary astronomy, and the atmospheric sciences. Moreover, the correct timing ofthe 1999 Leonid storm by meteor stream modeling has ushered meteor storms into the modern era of forecasting space weather. This paper summarizes the discoveries that resulted from these observations and subsequent theoretical modeling.


Meteoroid Stream Comet Dust Comet Orbit Planetary Perturbation Leonid Meteor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research CenterThe SETI InstituteMoffett FieldUSA

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