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Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets
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  • 380 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 804 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 1.6 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 523.53
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Meteors
    • Comets

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521853491 | ISBN-10: 0521853494)

Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets is a unique handbook for astronomers interested in observing meteor storms and outbursts. Spectacular displays of 'shooting stars' are created when the Earth's orbit crosses a meteoroid stream, as each meteoroid causes a bright light when it enters our atmosphere at high speed. Jenniskens, an active meteor storm chaser, explains how meteoroid streams originate from the decay of meteoroids, comets and asteroids, and how they cause meteor showers on Earth. He includes the findings of recent space missions to comets and asteroids, the risk of meteor impacts on Earth, and how meteor showers may have seeded the Earth with ingredients that made life possible. All known meteor showers are identified, accompanied by fascinating details on the most important showers and their parent comets. The book predicts when exceptional meteor showers will occur over the next fifty years, making it a valuable resource for both amateur and professional astronomers.

• Explains the cause and evolution of meteoroid streams • Identifies about 250 known meteor showers and forecasts exceptional meteor showers in the coming decades • Contains new insights into comet fragmentation as an important source of main meteor showers • Details results from the Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign


Part I. Introduction: 1. How meteor showers were linked to comets; 2. What is at the core of comets?; 3. The formation of meteoroid streams; 4. Meteors from meteoroid impacts in Earth; 5. Comet and meteoroid orbits in space and time; Part II. Parent Bodies: 6. Long period comets; 7. Halley-type comets; 8. Jupiter-family comets; 9. Fading comets of the inner solar system; 10. Asteroids; Part III. Young Streams from Whipple-type Ejection: 11. What planets do to dust trails; 12. Meteor storm chasing; 13. Meteor outbursts from long-period comets; 14. Trapped: the Leonid Filament; 15. The Leonid storms; 16. The Ursids; 17. The Perseids; 18. Other Halley-type comets; 19. Dust trails of Jupiter-family comets; Part IV. Young Streams from Comet Fragmentation: 20. Broken comets; 21. Quadrantids; 22. Geminids; 23. The sunskirting streams: Arietids and delta-Aquariids; 24. Alpha-Capricornids and kappa-Cygnids; 25. The Taurid complex; Part V. Old Streams and Sporadic Meteoroids: 26. Annual showers; 27. Dispersion from gradually evolving parent body orbits; 28. The ecliptic streams; 29. Toroidal streams; 30. Meteor showers from asteroids; 31. Sporadic meteors and the zodiacal cloud; Part VI. Impact and Relevance of Meteor Showers: 32. Impact!; 33. Meteor showers on other planets; 34. Meteors and the origin of life; Appendices.


Review of the hardback: 'This nice looking book comes at a special moment characterised by a growing interest in the studies of primitive bodies: comets and asteroids … chapters are well ordered for the benefit of both the beginner and the specialist … Meteor Showers and their Parent Comets is a good book for beginners, amateurs, and researchers interested not only in meteors, but also in the evolution of solar system minor bodies. the text provides an overall introduction to the origin of meteoroids and their direct applications to the study of their parent objects.' Meteoritics & Planetary Science

Review of the hardback: 'This well illustrated book recounts the development of the theories of the evolution of meteoroids from comets and their subsequent orbital dynamics … a labour of love, from a professional astronomer who is also a dedicated amateur observer … the tour de force of the book is the extensive set of tables, which include predictions for expected meteor outbursts, and these will be of great benefit to the amateur observer … a compulsory aid to planning when and were to take your next astronomical holiday.' Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Review of the hardback: 'Jenniskens's tome is a veritable encyclopedia of past and current meteor studies.' Sky and Telescope

Review of the hardback: '… I expected this to be the long-awaited standard text on the subject. As it turned out, I was not disappointed. … There is little to find at fault in this book. … It is, above all, a good read.' The Observatory

Review of the hardback: '… this is the first recent work centred on meteor showers and their parent bodies. Not since Lovell (1954) and Kronk (1988) have we had texts devoted to meteor showers, and this goes will beyond those books in terms of technical depth and richness of coverage. The work which went into this volume is phenomenal. … While not inexpensive, it is good value for a book of this length and depth. … In terms of format, the book is attractive and is probably the most extensively illustrated book in meteor science ever. … Despite the title, the book is not entirely limited to cometary parent streams, and does include sections on meteor showers associated with asteroids, sporadic meteors, and brief mention on the evidence for interstellar origin meteoroid streams. … one strength of the text are the excellent tables in the appendices, and it will serve as a valuable guide to meteor showers, storms, streams and outbursts for many decades. … certainly a must have for any researcher in meteor science, and should appear in the library of institutions that teach and research in cometary, meteor or more generally planetary science. A researcher in the history of solar system astronomy will also find the book to be a valuable resource … dedicated amateurs in the field will find the book interesting, especially items such as predictions for outstanding activity events over the next five decades … While it is not meant to be a text, it would be a valuable resource for a graduate or senior undergraduate course on the topics of meteor streams, comet-metoery interactions, and orbital dynamics. … I hope that it is widely read and extensively used … this book will make a lasting impact on the field of meteor science.' Earth Moon Planet

'I got my copy of Jenniskens' book today … it is well-bound, thick with plots, tables, and nice pictures, plus a lot of useful data, and boy does it smell good!'

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