Leonids To Be a
Real Show Starter
The Leonid meteor
shower may be a meteor storm and that means a really great heavenly show
is possible and a good one is nearly guaranteed. Wednesday and Thursday
mornings between 1 AM (PST) and dawn are the best times to view this event.
The moon will not
set until after midnight, making earlier viewing fairly fruitless (but
see below). The best place to view the Leonids is any dark sky site and
the best way to view is to simply lay back on a lawnchair or a pad and
just use your eyes, without binoculars or telescope (but with warm clothes!).
However, it is very likely that there will be fireballs, bolides or other
meteors that leave a lingering trail, so you may wish to have binoculars
handy to get a closer look at those. One should start out by facing toward
the East and if you know where the constellation Leo is, look specifically
toward that area, because the meteors will appear to originate from that
area of the sky. After viewing for a short while, you’ll get the idea...just
face toward the meteor trails! You may also wish to use the fastest film
you can find (and maybe ‘push’ process it) and place your camera on a
stand and keep the shutter open for perhaps 15 minutes at a time. You
may capture one or more on film. An artistic foreground may also enhance
your photo, and a few seconds of flashlight light may add to the photo.
site & group effort for Leonids viewing.
There are a few people
who will be at the club’s Anza site Thursday morning and we invite you
out. As an option, several of us will be counting how many meteors we
see and will be submitting the results for scientific compilation to the
If you wish to count while you watch, for however long you are out looking,
you may wish to submit your results either with our group or individually.
Either just show up or contact Jay Glowacki, by email
or by phone at (310) 831-4199 between 7 and 9 PM. If you arrive after
dark, please park at the lower areas and use your parking lights, if safe,
after you enter the gate. Bring a red light flashlight. If you wish to
count, bring a (clip)board and a pen or pencil.
The Silverado site
will also be open to Leonid viewers from around 6:30pm on Wednesday evening
- please check with Robert Buchhiem
for any specific details you may need. - Liam Kennedy
Lunar Impacts -
A Challenge For Amateurs?
On the web site http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/leonidnews.html
, it states that Leonids striking the unlit area of the first quarter
moon may cause vapor clouds which may briefly light up the area of impact
and these impacts may be visible in amateur telescopes. Now that sounds
like a challenge for amateurs who want something to do in the evening.
The best time appears to be between 8 and 10 PM on the 17th. Also possible
is a visible cloud of gas caused by an impact near the lunar north pole,
just into the dark side IF there is frozen water in a crater. An image
of either would surely make for a cover photo, the latter for a real scientific
by Jay Glowacki, OCA
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