'Comets and aerolites (Meteors)', c 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
One of a set of teaching cards published by James Reynolds & Sons, London, England, c 1851. Titled 'Comets and aerolites', the chart was drawn and engraved by John Emslie. The central illustration shows the various forms of comets along with a diagram showing their long drawn-out elliptical orbits. Two inset pictures show views of intense aerolite (meteor) showers as seen in Europe and over the Niagara Fall in the United States. Known as meteor storms these illustrations show the appearance the Leonid meteor show in 1833. One of the most intense on record, the spectacle was seen best in North America.