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Nature volume 57, page 88 | Download Citation



THE NOVEMBER METEOR SWARMS.—Up to the present time we have not received any news that the Leonids were more abundant this year than last. Indeed, bad weather seems to have universally prevailed about the time of observation. At the Paris Observatory five observers only noted twenty meteors, while M. Hansky, at the Meudon Observatory, saw in all seven, four of which were Leonids. M. Janssen, in consequence of the exceedingly bad weather experienced in Western Europe, telegraphed to San Francisco to inquire whether a more brilliant display had been noted there. The answer he received was to the effect that nothing more than the ordinary shower was observed. Perhaps, however, observers may be (or may have been) more fortunate with the Andromedes, which are expected between the 23rd and 27th of this month. This swarm is also of considerable strength, and should be more than usually active Its period of revolution being six and a half years, and the last maximum having occurred on November 23, 1892, we expect the shower this month to be above the ordinary yearly display. There are several points about the Andromedes that are of peculiar interest. One of these is that the orbit in which they move is very similar to that of the comet Biela; in fact, the bodies which produce the phenomena of shooting stars may be none other than the component parts of this comet. In the years 1872 and 1885 the maximum display occurred on the 27th of the month, but at the following expected shower it took place on the 23rd. This difference is explained, according to Bredichin, by the per-turbatory effects due to the proximity of the planet Jupiter, thus causing the node to recede 40. The radiant point of this swarm (250 + 430) has a large northern declination, which renders it always above the horizon. The meteors themselves are different from the Leonids in that they move more slowly, and are of a yellowish tinge.

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