[svlug] OT: Leonids?

Ian Kluft ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Sun Nov 18 06:20:02 PST 2001

>From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself at ix.netcom.com>
>on Sun, Nov 18, 2001 at 03:58:08AM -0800, Jeffrey Siegal (jbs at quiotix.com) =
>> Conditions were excellent on Skyline.  Very dark and very clear overhead
>> skies.  Countless meteors seen.  Amazing!
>Likewise.  I'm just getting back ~4am.  For one period, I was seeing
>meteors every 4-12 seconds, sometimes multiples (most was a strike of
>3-5 that I could count), too many to catch all of 'em.
>My vantage point was Skyline at Windy Hill, hiked up the hill to get
>away from road noise and car lights (though I had a few interesting
>neighbors, mostly of the amusing variety).

As Ajay mentioned, a small group from sbay.org went meteor-watching
following the monthly SBAY Pizza.  Almost everyone in the group were also
SVLUG members.  The weather forecast was for fog in the valleys and thin
high clouds north of Gilroy.  We wanted to get away from the city lights
anyway.  We were originally thinking of Henry Coe State Park (east of
Morgan Hill) but the forecast of high clouds detoured us to Fremont Peak
State Park (south of San Juan Bautista).

The dark sky was everything we hoped for, full of stars.  But we weren't
the only ones with that idea.  Parking had long since filled up in the
park.  We walked in from over a mile down the road.

The astronomers seem to have gotten their act together on forecasting
the Leonids this year.  Their newest models had predicted about 3 peaks
over 1000 meteors per hour between 1-3AM Pacific.  We noticed some periods
where we couldn't call them all out to each other fast enough, and were
often calling them in opposite directions at the same time or in groups up
to 3-4.  (If we hadn't done that, we wouldn't have been aware how many
each of us was missing!)  The most impressive were parallel "formation
flights" as we called them and a few exploding meteors.  I've seen meteor
showers before, but never anything like this one.

We left the peak at 3AM.  The show wasn't done but some in our group
were getting cold.  I got back home at 5AM.  I saw several more meteors
from my driveway so I know it was at least partly visible from the
Berryessa/Milpitas area near the eastern foothills.

If the forecats remain correct as they did overnight here, Australia and
eastern Asia will get the biggest peak with 8000-15000 meteors/hour at 1800UT.
That's 10AM Pacific so we'll be in daylight.  But with such high rates, some
alert observers here may even see some daytime fireballs from the west.
Forecasts favor 9:30AM, 10:03AM, and 10:18AM today.  Here's my source:

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