Meteor Shower 1833


The Recent Phenomena In The Heavens.

The brilliant meteors observed in the sky on the 13th inst, have been noticed in various parts of our country as far south as the City of Norfolk, Virg. These 'falling stars' seemed to radiate from one spot in the heavens, about sixteen degrees south of the zenith, and shot downwards at various angles of declination, crossing each others' tracks. Many of these meteors resembled the most brilliant sky-rockets, some of them leaving behind a trail of fire diverging like that of a comet. The atmosphere was completely filled with them, and the looker-on might indeed exclaim in admiration at the sublime spectacle,

"The Heavens declare the glory of God,

And the firmament showeth his handwork."

We have procured through the kindness of a friend a hasty engraving of the "stars falling from Heaven" as they were noticed in this region. It may, perhaps, give some slight notion of this rare phenomenon to those who were unfortunate enough not to witness this freak of Nature.

Independent Inquirer, Saturday, November 23, 1833.

William E. Ryther, Editor.


This first Leonid meteor shower arrived on November 13, 1833 and marked the beginning of meteor astronomy.

William E. Ryther also appends an extensive analysis by Yale professor Denison Olmsted. His local engraver's name is not given.

The Washington Telegraph commented---

"Had not the days of superstition transpired, this event might well add tenfold terror to the present political condition of the country."

This is an allusion to the Nullification Crisis, when South Carolina threatened to secede from the Union.


Information available at


Site Design © Vermont Technology Partners, Inc.