Hi everyone! We saw a few shooting stars from the desert on Saturday night.
It was in the 40's at midnight, but the sky was absolutely gorgeous! Mojo
and I are working on a story or two combining his gorgeous images from that
night. You'll see those in a few days. :-) But tonight is Leonid night!
The Leonids are my favorite meteor shower, partly because I've been
participating in meteor counting research as an amateur astronomer for a
dozen years. But mostly because this shower is well documented in art,
culture and history going back to the 900's.
It looks like we'll have decent weather tonight for those who want to see a
few shooting stars. If you want to see some of this historic meteor shower,
the best time for us here in the US is from 12:30 am to 2:30 am. (that's
Pacific time) Tuesday morning - aka in less than 12 hours from right now.
The time usually recommended for meteor shower watching is the "hours before
dawn" timeframe. But this time, because Earth will be plowing through a
"denser clump" of meteor dust at that time, the rates will go up a little.
Not like the storm years of 1998-2002, when thousands of meteors rained down
on the Earth, but a nice reminder that our solar system is an amazing place
Still, it won't be raining meteors tonight. Expect maybe 10-20 before
midnight and maybe up to 30 per hour during the 12:30 - 2:30 am timeframe.
An article recalling the 1999 and the 1899 Leonids is here:
Let me know if you see any! I'll pass on your report if you'd like to the
Leonid ground-based team, observing from Kathmandu, Nepal. They are counting
meteors (and there will be an outburst of maybe 300) right now where it's
meteor time in Asia! http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/
Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA 91109 818-393-6435
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