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Editor’s Note: Because the Leonid Meteor Shower is happening November 17th and 18th, we decided to revisit this wonderful article from 2017.
Cover image via Good Loving Woman.
Shortly before dawn on November 13, 1833, the greatest meteor storm in modern history was visible over North America with hundreds of thousands of bright meteors per hour. Not only was it a fulfillment of a specific prophesy that Joseph Smith had made, but this storm may have also been one of the signs of the establishment of the Church and Kingdom of God as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.
Joseph Smith described and interpreted it as a sign from heaven. “About 4 o’clock a.m. I was awakened by Brother Davis knocking at my door, and calling me to arise and behold the signs in the heavens. I arose, and to my great joy, beheld the stars fall from heaven like a shower of hailstones; a literal fulfillment of the word of God, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.”[i]
“Forty days shall not pass, and the stars shall fall from heaven”
Here is an account by Philo Dibble of a very specific prophesy by Joseph Smith that was fulfilled in the magnificent Leonid meteor storm of 1833.
“On one occasion Joseph was preaching in Kirtland, sometime in the fall of 1833. Quite a number of persons were present who did not belong to the Church, and one man, more bitter and skeptical than others, made note with pencil and paper of a prophecy uttered on that occasion, wherein Joseph said that ‘Forty days shall not pass, and the stars shall fall from heaven.’ ”[ii]
Continuing to quote from Philo Dibble:
“Such an event would certainly be very unusual and improbable to the natural man, and the skeptic wrote the words as a sure evidence to prove Joseph to be a false prophet.
“On the thirty-ninth day after the utterance of that prophecy, a man and brother in the Church, by the name of Joseph Hancock,… and another brother were out hunting game and got lost. They wandered about until night, when they found themselves at the house of this unbeliever, who exultingly produced this note of Joseph Smith’s prophecy and asked Brother Hancock what he thought of his prophet now that thirty-nine days had passed and the prophecy was not fulfilled.
“Brother Hancock was unmoved and quietly remarked, ‘There is one night left of the time, and if Joseph said so, the stars will certainly fall tonight. The prophecy will all be fulfilled.’
“The matter weighed upon the mind of Brother Hancock, who watched that night, and it proved to be the historical one, known in all the world as ‘the night of the falling of the stars.’
“He stayed that night at the house of the skeptical unbeliever, as it was too far from home to return by night, and in the midst of the falling of the stars, he went to the door of his host and called him out to witness what he had thought impossible and the most improbable thing that could happen, especially as that was the last night in which Joseph Smith could be saved from the condemnation of a ‘false prophet.’
“The whole heavens were lit up with the falling meteors, and the countenance of the new spectator was plainly seen and closely watched by Brother Hancock, who said that he turned pale as death and spoke not a word.”
Signs and Wonders beyond Current Scientific Knowledge
Many of the signs prophesied and fulfilled as related in the scriptures go way beyond our current scientific knowledge as to how the Lord might have performed these miracles. Examples include the lights in heaven in ancient America on the evening of Christ’s birth, the three hours of darkness over the whole earth during the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the parting of the Red Sea allowing several million Israelites to safely cross on their journey to the Mountain of God, and the worldwide Great Flood during the 600th year of the prophet Noah’s life.[iii]
All of these signs and wonders, whether we have some understanding of how they might have occurred or not, have to be synchronized with the prophesied events happening on earth using one or more sacred or secular calendars. For example, the parting of the Red Sea would not have much meaning if the children of Israel had not been miraculously freed from bondage in Egypt after the Passover celebration and were camped at the proper location on the beach of the Red Sea where the seabed topography could allow the miracle to occur as recorded in the Biblical account. In the case of multiple signs and wonders, such as the many coordinated events of the Exodus from Egypt, the highly unlikely individual signs become exponentially even more improbable.[iv]
Meteor Showers and Storms: Scientifically Explainable Signs and Wonders
Scientists have been inspired to make great discoveries related to meteor showers that occur as the earth’s orbit exactly intersects or nearly intersects with the orbit of a comet. The meteor storm seen and discussed by Joseph Smith and many others was caused by a comet which is the source of an annual meteor shower that occurs each November. The meteors seem to come from the constellation Leo (the Lion) and the meteor shower is called the Leonids.[v]
Halley’s Comet: Most Famous of the Comets
The most famous comet, Halley’s Comet, named for astronomer Edmond Halley, has a 75 year orbital period and has been a spectacular sight on many of its visits to the inner solar system. Its orbit intersects the earth’s orbit both coming into the Sun and going back out to its farthest point beyond Neptune’s orbit. Two meteor showers each year are caused by debris clouds that came from Halley’s comet, the Eta Aquarids in May and the Orionids in October.[vi]
Leonid Meteor Shower: Closest Orbital Intersection of All
The Leonid meteor shower occurs each year in November and is caused by a comet named Tempel-Tuttle that intersects the earth’s orbit more closely than any other periodic comet that causes an annual meteor shower. No other meteor shower is aligned close enough to earth’s orbit to cause a meteor storm as described in the 1833 account.[vii]
Because the orbits of the earth and the Tempel-Tuttle comet are so close when they intersect, these patches of very dense debris, burned off the comet every 33 years, can trigger a spectacular meteor storm for a few hours. Normal background meteors hit the atmosphere about once per hour. A typical meteor shower can get up to 100 meteors per hour, often including spectacular fireball meteors when the debris pieces are the size of a pebble or small rock. In 1833, with hundreds of thousands of meteors entering the atmosphere per hour appearing to originate in the constellation Leo, “The sky was so bright with bright falling stars that people were awakened believing that their house was on fire!”[viii]
2001 Leonid Meteor Storm
The comet Tempel-Tuttle passed nearby the earth’s orbit in 1998 in its latest 33 year orbit around the Sun. As the earth passed through the comet’s orbit in 1999, 2000 and 2001, meteor storms of up to 3,000 per hour were reported. Very early in the morning of November 18, 2001, my friend Chuck Sisson and I took our two families to Cedar Valley airport a half hour drive away that has dark skies free from most of the city lights of Utah Valley. The sky was cloudy but we took a chance that it might clear up so we could see the Leonids.
Amazingly, a hole in the clouds opened up and we were able to see the meteor storm with about a new meteor seen every second. Spectacular! Quite an experience! Now think of a storm one hundred times bigger during an era without many lights.[ix]
Signs of the Establishment of the Kingdom of God
In a detailed new article, entitled “Clothed With the Sun, Moon Under Her Feet,” John Pratt shares his research relating to the prophesy in Revelation chapter 12. He believes that the 1833 meteor storm is one of the accompanying signs of the establishment of the Church and Kingdom of God on the earth.[x]
At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, in the prayer given to Joseph Smith by revelation, the Lord discusses the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophesy of the coming kingdom of God. “[That] the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;” [emphasis added] (D&C 109:72) Evidently, the birth of the kingdom of God had happened previous to March 27, 1836.
John Pratt proposes important dates along the way to the birth of the kingdom referred to by Daniel. They include April 6, 1830, September 26, 1832, April 6, 1833 and November 13, 1833—the night the stars fell from heaven.
Quoting John Pratt from section 3.3 in his article (“Stars Cast Down”):
“Right in the middle of this prophecy [Revelation chapter 12] is a rather long discussion of Satan and his angels being cast down to the earth, falling like stars from heaven (v. 4). What is all of that about? It is usually considered totally out place and ignored as part of this prophecy. It is interpreted as a flashback to the pre-existence ….
“But as stated above, prophecies can have several fulfillments. Let us suppose that the Lord did not lose his train of thought at this point and that what John saw was indeed all relevant to the prophecy. What if it actually referred to stars falling?”
I highly recommend studying John Pratt’s very interesting and extensive research in this latest article.
“That They Might Believe”
As part of the pouring out of knowledge upon the earth in the last days, there are many signs of which we have at least a partial scientific understanding. We are admonished to be “looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.” (D&C 45:39)
I believe that this spectacular sign of the Leonid meteor storm of 1833 is a fulfillment of both a specific 40 day prophesy by Joseph Smith and also the much larger prophesies related to the establishment of the Church and Kingdom of God in the last days.
Whether these signs and wonders that fulfill prophesy are scientifically understood or not, a crucial test of faith in these last days is whether we will believe in the true signs and wonders sent by God, precisely timed to testify of the unfolding of the Lord’s work in the earth. Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of the supernal signs of Jesus’ birth and death and then proclaimed:[xi]
“And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men.” (Helaman 14:28-29)
[i] John P. Pratt, “Clothed with the Sun, Moon Under Her Feet,” johnpratt.com, November 2, 2016.
[https://johnpratt.com/items/docs/2016/clothed_with_sun.html] “3.3 Stars Cast Down” section and wood cut illustration of the event.
“During the pre-dawn hours of Wed 13 Nov 1833 there occurred what was most likely the largest meteor storm ever recorded. It was seen all over the United States. The sky was so bright with bright falling stars that people were awakened believing that their house was on fire! “Meteor” is the scientific term for what are popularly called “falling stars” or “shooting stars”. They are caused when particles enter the earth’s atmosphere and brilliantly burn up from intense heat caused by friction. For comparison, on any given night there is about one falling star per hour. During a meteor shower, there are about 100 meteors per hour. When the earth’s path takes it through a huge patch of space debris left over from the head of a shattered comet, it is called a meteor storm and there can be hundreds of thousands of falling stars per hour. The meteor storm of 13 Nov 1833 lasted at least from 2 am until dawn.
“Here is what the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded both of seeing and interpreting this marvelous event:
“November 13. About 4 o’clock a.m. I was awakened by Brother Davis knocking at my door, and calling me to arise and behold the signs in the heavens. I arose, and to my great joy, beheld the stars fall from heaven like a shower of hailstones; a literal fulfillment of the word of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures …
“Some at times appeared like bright shooting meteors, with long trains of light following in their course, and in numbers resembled large drops of rain in sunshine. These seemed to vanish when they fell behind the trees, or came near the ground. Some of the long trains of light following the meteoric stars, were visible for some seconds; these streaks would curl and twist up like serpents writhing. The appearance was beautiful, grand, and sublime beyond description; and it seemed as if the artillery and fireworks of eternity were set in motion to enchant and entertain the Saints, and terrify and awe the sinners of the earth. Beautiful and terrific as was the scenery, it will not fully compare with the time when the sun shall become black like sack-cloth of hair, the moon like blood, and the stars fall to the earth (Rev. 6:12-13) — DHC 1:439-440.
“Note that the Prophet Joseph stated that this event was a fulfillment of the word of God in the scriptures and yet still did not compare to what would happen when the usual prophecy about the stars falling would later be fulfilled. So to what prophecy did he refer that was fulfilled? One clue that he had in mind the prophecy discussed in this article is that in his translation of the Book of Revelation he placed the appearance of the dragon after the birth of the man child. That fits with the stars falling a few months after the birth of the Kingdom of God.”
[ii] John P. Pratt, “Spectacular Meteor Shower Might Repeat,” Meridian Magazine, October 15, 1999.
“There might be a truly spectacular meteor shower during the pre-dawn hours of November 18, 1999. But it is not expected to rival the impressive meteor shower which occurred when the saints were expelled from Jackson County, Missouri in 1833.”
”Joseph Smith,” Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom, retrieved 12/23/2016.
[iii] Ronald P. Millett, “Samuel and Nephi, Talmage and Kimball: Testimony of Christian Calendars in the New and Old Worlds,” Meridian Magazine, June 8, 2016.
“The Book of Mormon provides a model that established a new calendar in America based on the exact day when Samuel’s prophesy of Christ’s Birth was fulfilled with “great lights in heaven.” (Helaman 14:3) The Prophet Nephi, the great grandson of Helaman the son of Alma, recorded how their society’s official Nephite calendar was adjusted to restart at the Redeemer’s Birthday.”
John P. Pratt, Passover—Was It Symbolic of His Coming?” Ensign, January 1994.
Another witness of three hours of darkness over all of the earth:
“Another witness comes from Phlegon, a Greek secular historian from Caria (in Asia Minor), writing soon after A.D. 137, who ‘reported that in the fourth year of the 202d Olympiad there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that the stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.’
“The year mentioned began on 1 July A.D.. 32 and ended 30 June A.D. 33, a period which includes the time identified as that of the Savior’s crucifixion. The fact that Phlegon records both darkening of the sun at noon and earthquakes, just as Matthew describes (see Matt. 27:45, 51), in that same year, makes it apparent that he is describing the same events that were also witnessed in distant cities in modern-day Turkey. This also confirms traditions that ‘the terror of the earthquake continued from the sixth hour of the preparation until the ninth hour’ (from noon till 3:00 P.M. on Friday; compare 3 Ne. 8:17–19), and that ‘when he was crucified darkness came over all the world,’ ‘the sun was altogether hidden,’ ‘the stars were seen,’ and ‘in all the world they lighted their lamps from the sixth hour until evening.’ ”
John P. Pratt, “Exodus Date Testifies of Christ,” Meridian Magazine, October 7, 2003.
“The date of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt at the time of Moses has been a subject of uncertainty and controversy for centuries. The Bible indicates that it was about 1400-1500 BC but many modern scholars have placed it about 1200 BC based on Egyptian chronology. Thus, even the century in which it occurred has been uncertain.”
Ronald P. Millett, “In Defense of the Prophet Noah and the Great Flood,” Meridian Magazine, March 12, 2014.
“The Great Flood that occurred during the life of the Prophet Noah was a key topic of the recent science and religion debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Many modern scientists assert that the Great Flood and many other events in Biblical history must be merely figurative stories. They claim the story of Noah, the ark and the flood cannot possibly be literally true.
“Ancient and modern prophets, however, attest to the literal reality of a miraculous worldwide flood. Scientific analysis can suggest how God performed this great work and why it is very different from known historical floods. Ancient calendars, derived from the solar system’s celestial bodies, correlate with the Bible to also support the reality of the Great Flood.”
John P. Pratt, “Introduction to the Hebrew Calendar,” johnpratt.com, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Picture of the Calendar wheel of the Perpetual Hebrew Calendar, the John Pratt version of that ancient calendar.
John P. Pratt, “Astronomical Witnesses of the Great Flood,” Meridian Magazine, August 13, 2003.
“A precise date for Noah’s Deluge is indicated by sacred astronomical calendars and confirmed by witnesses of Enoch, his father Jared, and even the Savior.”
“The year given for the Flood is the 600th year of Noah’s life (Gen. 7:11), which, according to adding up the ages of the patriarchs should be about 1,656 years after the Beginning of Mortality, or about 2345 BC. The day indicated is 17 Heshvan, at that time the second month, and the traditional Hebrew understanding of when the Flood began. Checking the various sacred calendars near that year leads to a date which will be shown to have overwhelmingly strong support: Sat 16 Nov 2343 BC. Counting 17 Heshvan as a minor holy day, the day was also a holy day on only one other known sacred calendar, being the Last Day of Tabernacles on the Enoch Fixed calendar (21 Autumn). But the important alignment date on the Venus calendar was the day on which the ark was loaded, one week earlier.”
John P. Pratt, “Religious Chronology Summary,” Johnpratt.com, November 2, 2016.
[iv] Matt’s Scripture Study, Thoughts on Doctrinal Details, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Picture of parting of Red Sea.
“The Exodus Route: Red Sea Camp at Straits of Tiran,” Bible.ca, Retrieved 12/24/2016.
“Israel crossed the Red Sea at the Straits of Tiran on a Sunday.
After 24 days leaving Egypt, they spent one whole day crossing the Red sea for a total of 25 days on the other side. Subtract the 8 days camped at Etham waiting for Pharaoh to come gives a travel time of 17 days to go 250 miles from Goshen to Red Sea gives us an average daily 15 miles per day. Very possible considering they traveled day and night and had supernatural help from God so they would not stumble: Isaiah 63:11-14.
The Hebrews came down the coastal flatlands and passed the Egyptian military “Migdol” that served as a three way lookout point.
With the Egyptian lookouts watching, Israel passed them towards Etham where they stopped because of the high mountain range.
Scripture says that Israel came to a dead end at Etham, then God told them to turn back and retrace their steps and camp directly beside the “Migdol” in order for pharaoh to say, “Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. “For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.” Exodus 14:1-4
As Israel started coming back towards the Migdol, the Egyptians in the watchmen sent a message to Pharaoh by messenger pigeon which arrived in 5 hours. Pharaoh assembles 600 chariots and starts chasing Israel.
Meanwhile, the Hebrews camped directly under the Migdol watchtower for about 8 days. Perhaps only Moses knew that Pharaoh was under chase.
When Pharaoh arrived, the pillar of fire came between Israel and the Army.”
[v] Meteor Showers, skyscrapers.org, retrieved 12/23/2016.
“Leonids (November 16-18)
The Leonids are best known for their 33-year peaks, during which 100s of meteors per hour can be observed. The last of these peaks occurred in 2001. Normal peak rates are 15-20 fast meteors (44 miles per second) . Mostly blue or green in color., with many leaving persistent dust trains behind them upon disintegrating.”
“Meteoroids,” lamost.org, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Note the summary of meteor showers in Table 14.1. Figure 14.16 for illustration of comet intersecting earth’s orbit and the debris spreading out over the orbit.
[vi] “Halley’s Comet,” wikipedia.org. retrieved 12/23/2016.
Photograph of comet in 1986.
“Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is a short-period comet visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Halley is the only known short-period comet that is regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime. Halley last appeared in the inner parts of the Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061.”
“Orionids,” Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Edited by Paul Murdin, article 5346. Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing, 2001.
“A meteor shower that takes place in late October. The radiant lies in the constellation Orion, near the border with Gemini. The Orionids occur when the Earth intersects the ascending node of the meteor stream from Halley’s Comet; the Eta Aquarids in May are produced by the Earth’s passage through the descending node. Because Halley’s orbit is retrograde,” [the comet orbits in a clockwise direction as opposed to the earth’s counter-clockwise direction.]
A.M. Dobrossky and Galina O. Ryabova, “Visibility on the earth of the Aquarid and Orionid meteor showers,” Tornsk State University.
“P/Halley meteoroid stream: At present association of the η-Aquariid and Orionid meteor showers with comet Halley is undisputed. Every year the Earth crosses the P/Halley meteoroid stream twice: in the descending node (April–May, η-Aquariids) the minimal distance from the cometary orbit is 0.065 AU [6 million miles], and in the ascending node (October) – 0.18 AU [16 million miles]. [Orionid]”
“El Paso: The other side of the Mexican revolution,” University of Texas as El Paso, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Picture in article of Halley’s comet.
“Halley’s comet was celebrated in several corridos as the first portent of the Mexican Revolution, May 16, 1910. Photo by W.F. Stuart. (El Paso Public Library.)” [corrido: A popular narrative song and poetry form]
“When was the first camera invented,” reference.com, retrieved 12/23/2016.
“The first camera capable of creating a photographic image was invented by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, who first used it in 1827. Niepce inserted a photographic plate into the bottom of a camera obscura. The camera projected a pattern of light and shadow onto the plate that could be developed into an image. The light exposure time for this type of camera was more than 8 hours. About 12 years later, Louis Daguerre reduced the exposure time to 30 minutes.”
Millett Software, “Learn About the Solar System and Halley’s Comet,” 1984.
When my wife Rhonda and I bought our first Macintosh computer in July, 1984 while I worked in Dr. Dell Allen’s Computer-Aided Manufacturing lab at BYU, we tried our hand at creating an educational software package in our basement about the coming Halley’s Comet visit in 1985-1986. Little development software was available at that time for the Macintosh computer. Our first Mac was a 128k two floppy system that we quickly upgraded to a “fat mac” with 512k memory and eventually we upgraded to a MacPlus with a 10 megabyte hard drive.
Here is the ad we placed in the December 1984 issue of MacWorld which allowed us to sell over a hundred copies of the simulation and tutorial program throughout the world and have a fun learning experience that made a small profit. This included installing a newly released unix development system on the two floppy system and learning how to use Visa and Mastercharge merchant credit card accounts. The simulation included learning the physics and programming of orbital calculations and doing projections of the orbits at various inclination angles to the ecliptic and coordinating the various orbital speeds and planet and comet initial starting positions.
[vii] “Meteor Shower,” NASA Space Place, retrieved 12/23/2016.
“If it’s time for a meteor shower, you won’t need a telescope, binoculars, or a high mountain to have a ‘star gazing’ party. You might need a warm sleeping bag and an alarm clock to wake you in the middle of the night. But then just lying down in your own back yard will put you in the perfect spot to enjoy a great show.”
Great introductory page including showing how the orbits need to intersect.
“Leonid Meteor Shower Strikes Tonight and Tuesday,” astrobob’s blog, retrieved 12/23/2016.
“In 2000 and 2001, the shower put on fabulous shows with hundreds of meteors per hour highlighted by many flaring fireballs. When asked to recall an astronomically significant experience in their lifetime, it’s been my experience that more people pick that shower over anything else, including Halley’s Comet or a lunar eclipse. We’re built to respond to boom, flash and bang.”
Jeff White, “Effect of Solar Radiation On Predicting Leonid Meteor Showers,” Space Flight Dynamics Research Paper,
Orbital illustration with orbital inclination explanation. Great article!
“When a comet passes near the sun, a little of its icy mass evaporates freeing dust and debris to slowly drift away from the comet. The material spreads along the comets orbital path and gradually diffuses away. Every time the comet passes the sun, a new “stream” of meteoroid debris is released to orbit with the comet. During it’s travel out to aphelion and back, well-understood planetary effects will move this latest stream into a slightly new orbit. When the comet passes the sun again and new material is released, rather than overlapping with the one revolution-old stream, an entirely new stream is formed. This continues with each pass so that over time, many streams of meteoroid debris are in orbit near the comet. When the Earth crosses orbits with any one of these streams, a meteor shower results. Given enough time, the streams will disperse but, due to non-gravitational forces being an important factor, this process is less well understood.”
Scott Sutherland, “Watch Tuesday’s Leonid meteor shower peak from anywhere,” retrieved 12/23/2016.
“55P/Tempel-Tuttle,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Note orbital inclination of 162 degrees. That translates to retrograde (clockwise) motion with a 17 degree angle inclination of its orbit related to the earth’s orbital plane.
“Leonids Galore,” NASA Science News, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Note Leonids 2000 illustration of meteor streams.
These debris clouds are near the comet’s orbit after the comet has passed by.
“Earth’s path through space is shown in blue. Auburn-colored ellipses denote dust streams laid down by comet Tempel-Tuttle in the indicated years. This year our planet passed close to trails deposited in 1932, 1733 and 1866. Credit: Dr. David Asher”
Note that the earth travels 1.6 million miles per day indicated in blue on this illustration with the dates indicated. Also note how much closer the comet orbit for the various Tempel-Tuttle’s comet debris clouds is to earth’s orbit compared with Halley’s Comet documented in a previous footnote. With the possibility of meteor storms happening because of this close alignment, there is no other periodic comet that is even in the same ball park as comet Tempel-Tuttle is as far as the potential for spectacular “above and beyond” displays.”
“Earth’s Orbit,” wikipedia.org, retrieved 12/23/2016.
“Earth’s orbit is the path through which the Earth travels around the Sun. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 149.60 million kilometers (92.96 million miles), and a complete orbit occurs every 365.256 days (1 sidereal year), during which time Earth travels 940 million kilometers (584 million miles). Earth’s orbit has an eccentricity of 0.0167. Earth’s orbital motion gives an apparent movement of the Sun with respect to other stars at a rate of about 1° per day (or a Sun or Moon diameter every 12 hours) eastward as seen from Earth.[nb 1] Earth’s orbital speed averages about 30 km/s (108,000 km/h; 67,000 mph), which is fast enough to cover the planet’s diameter in seven minutes and the distance to the Moon in four hours.”
Additional great pictures and resources:
Google search: “temple-tuttle orbit pictures”
Mark Littmann, “The Heavens on Fire: ‘The Great Leonid Meteor Storms,” Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Especially interesting is the graph on page 298. The drift of the two orbits from outside earth’s orbit up to about 900 AD when it became very closely aligned until about 2000 AD is shown very clearly in this excellent diagram of the orbital match from 0 to 2500 AD. It is very interesting that now the orbit of the comet is moving from almost an exact intersection to move further inside of the earth’s orbit.
Here is the analysis from the article of the drift of the two orbits as they become further apart—also on page 298.
“This orbital precession of Comet Tempel-tuttle will increase the distance between the paths of the comet and the Earth, and thus reduce the amount of material from Comet Tempel-Tuttle the Earth encounters. The spectacular bursts of meteors about three times a century will become a memory and then only a note in history.”
“All meteor storms, all meteor showers are evolving, never staying the same. All come to an end as the orbit of the stream of debris loses touch with the orbit of Earth.”
“Because of planetary perturbations,” says Yeomans, “it will be another century after the 1998-1999 events before significant Leonid meteor displays are once again likely. The year 1999 may be the last in a hundred years when the Leonid meteors may stage a storm.”
[viii] John P. Pratt, “Clothed with the Sun, Moon Under Her Feet,” johnpratt.com, November 2, 2016.
[https://johnpratt.com/items/docs/2016/clothed_with_sun.html] “3.3 Stars Cast Down” section.
“Explore Showers Guide, Falls 1833, and more!” Pinterest.com, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Some great prints are available about the 1833 shower.
“Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833,” fineartamerica.com, retrieved 12/23/2016.
Wow! A great illustration of the shower over Niagra falls.
“Leonids 1833,” Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, retrieved 12/23/2016.
The shower shown over Niagra Falls.
[ix] Fred Espenak, “2001 Leonid Storm Photo Gallery,” 2001.
“The Great Leonid Meteor Storm of 2001 provided a unique photographic opportunity.Earth’s orbit carried our planet through an especially dense dust trail from Comet Tempel-Tuttle which produced the spectacular meteor display. Fred Espenak and Pat Totten present some of their best photographs of the historic event from Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia. Espenak’s report from Ayers Rock, AUSTRALIA describes the celestial event in detail.”
“Leonids,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved 12/25/2016.
“Viewing campaigns resulted in spectacular footage from the 1999, 2001 and 2002, storms producing up to 3,000 Leonid meteors per hour.”
“Leonids 2001 Meteor gallery: Page 1,” spaceweather.com, retrieved 12/25/2016.
“Leonids 2001 Meteor Gallery. Summary: Sky watchers who saw it will never forget it: the 2001 Leonid meteor storm. The display began on Sunday morning, Nov. 18th, when Earth glided into a dust cloud shed by comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1766. Thousands of meteors per hour rained over North America and Hawaii.”
“Leonids 2001,” carlkop.home, Retrieved 12/25/2016.
“The display began on Sunday morning, Nov. 18th, when Earth glided into a dust cloud shed by comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1766. Thousands of meteors per hour rained over North America and Hawaii. Then, on Monday morning Nov. 19th (local time in Asia), it happened again: Earth entered a second cometary debris cloud from Tempel-Tuttle. Preliminary reports from China, Korea and Japan indicate 2,000 to 6,000 meteors per hour — possibly more — falling over east Asian countries and Australia.”
“A Leonid Meteor Shower Outburst?,” Sky and Telescope, November 16, 2006.
“Late Saturday night a meteoric sky show could break over New York, New England, and eastern Canada. The famed Leonid meteor shower — which put on intense displays from 1998 to 2002 — could return for a brief, last-gasp reprise.”
Kent Blackwell, “The Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 2001,” norfolkastrominical.org, “Norfolk Skies, December 2001 issue.
“November 17 2001, a day marked on many amateur calendars throughout the world. On this day it was hoped one would witness the great Leonid meteor storm. Last year, and the year before the storm failed to match the incredible display of 1966. Still, in 1999 many people saw a great number of Leonids, including marvelous fireballs. Due to clouds in the area, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be among those. The year 2000 was a disappointment completely, but many experts predicted 2001 would prove a good year for the Leonids. Their predictions were completely accurate.”
Fred Koch, “Leonid Meteor Storm,” Youtube video, November 18, 2001.
Taken from Victoria, British Columbia.
Two additional great youtube videos of 2001 Leonids by Houma Erie:
[x] John P. Pratt, “Clothed with the Sun, Moon Under Her Feet,” johnpratt.com, November 2, 2016.
[xi] Do a search in the scriptures for the phrase “signs and wonders” and then also “signs wonders” or “sign* wonder*” with the terms being just in the same verse which will catch the references that are not exact phrases but in more complex syntactic contexts. Focus on Helaman and Third Nephi. It is amazing to see how prominent this discussion of signs and wonders is in the Book of Mormon as the history surrounding the birth and then later the death and resurrection of Christ was carefully chronicled by the Nephite prophets.
Ezra Taft Benson, “The Savior’s Visit to America,” Ensign, April 1987.
“Recently I have been reading again the marvelous account in the Book of Mormon of the visit of the resurrected Savior to the American continent. As Easter approaches, I have been deeply impressed with the beauty and power of this scriptural account in 3 Nephi, and with its great value for our time and our generation. The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.” [emphasis added]
Richard Dilworth Rust, “ ‘I Know Your Doing’: The Book of Mormon Speaks to Our Times,” Ensign, December 1988.
“The Book of Mormon not only contains prophecy and fulfills prophecy, it shows us prophetic patterns and types that are applicable to the latter days.”[emphasis added]
Exact phrase: “signs and wonders” :
“And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.” (Helaman 14:6)
“For behold, Nephi was baptizing, and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that the Christ must shortly come” (Helaman 16:4)
“And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen; but notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord.” (3 Nephi 1:22)
“And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen. Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it [the sign or wonder] was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.” (3 Nephi 2:1-2)
Searching for partial word match with both terms occurring anywhere in verse:
“But it came to pass in the ninetieth year of the reign of the judges, there were great signs given unto the people, and wonders; and the words of the prophets began to be fulfilled.” (Helaman 16:13)
“And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land.” (Helaman 16:23)
“And it came to pass that the people began to wax strong in wickedness and abominations; and they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given; and Satan did go about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness in the land.” (3 Nephi 2:3)
“And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men. And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation. And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.” (Helaman 14:28-31)