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The annual Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak during the night of November 16-17, although the event lasts for several days. During some years it has been spectacular. The meteors are remnants from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. They radiate from the constellation Leo. That means their tails point back toward Leo, but they can be seen anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is between local midnight and dawn when Leo is above the horizon and observers will be on the side of the Earth plowing into the meteor stream. The waxing crescent Moon will set during the evening and not present a hindrance.
For my calendar of upcoming major meteor showers with information on Moon illumination, visit my webpage at www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids
Descriptions and perhaps lucky photos of the shower would be welcome additions to this thread.
Post by Paulie pchris00 on Nov 16, 2012 8:38:23 GMT -6
Tonight looks like it will be mostly clear, and not too cold. I'll be heading out to Conway Observatory for observing and for meteor viewing. I'll be arriving around sunset. Anybody who knows how to get to the observatory, or thinks they can find it on their own, is welcome to join me. I'll be staying late into the night. The building is heated, but dress is layers.
Directions can be found here (click on the picture of the map).
Post by mtbrownewellobserv on Nov 16, 2012 16:14:26 GMT -6
Meteor watching party at my house Saturday night November 17. Weather looks good so far, you can spend the night. Mt. Brownewell observatory is located at 6215 S. 125 W., Brook, Indiana 47922. 40 deg 54' 29.47" North 87 Deg 24' 52.47 West. Best way to get here - get to US 41 in Indiana and go south to the intersection of 41 and Indiana 114. This is about 70 miles south of Chicago. Continue South on US41 two miles and turn left on County Road 600 South. This intersection is hard to see, look for a barn on the right side of the highway with the Purdue University Logo on it. Go East 1 mile on CR600S and turn right at CR125W. I'm the first house on left. Weather outlook is good, skies here are mag 6+ with very little light pollution. (This is the most light pollution free site within a 75 mile radius of Chicago) Phone number here is 219-741-2686. Chris Brownewell
Post by Paulie pchris00 on Nov 30, 2012 13:01:15 GMT -6
Been meaning to follow up on this. I was pretty disappointed.
In my five years as an astronomer, this was the first time I had a clear sky for the Leonids. I wasn't sure what to expect, but since they are one of the most talked about meteor showers, I expected them to be halfway decent.
Bill met me at Conway Observatory not long after dark. We went through some usual observing, and chitchatting. Other than Jupiter, which was up fairly early, I didn't have anything on the observing agenda other than the Leonids. We didn't see any meteors before midnight, which wasn't unexpected, but the good showers usually give a few for the early birds. We weren't keeping close watch, so maybe one or two snuck past, but I don't think so.
Around midnight an SUV pulled into the parking lot, then drove past and over to Purdue Calumet's NIRO observatory. Thinking it was some kids looking to make out or drink, I walked over to let them know t GTFO. Instead, it was a guy alone, not much older than me. Still intending to be a wiseguy, I knocked on the window and asked if he was from Purdue Cal. He said yeah. Oops.
So John and I formally introduced ourselves. He was out to try to capture the Leonids, and was having some students come out a little later. He'd rigged a system with an infrared trigger device to catch any meteors in the eastern sky. John had intended on setting up near NIRO, but once the students arrived, we all hung out on the Conway observing circle. We spent about two hours from 1-3 AM watching the eastern half of the sky, and I only saw eight rather lackluster meteors. The only one worth sitting out in the cold for was one that flashed above Leo, not really moving, just getting brighter, even green, then disappearing. It was the first time I saw a meteor headed straight at me.
I heard later that Chris Brownewell was watching the meteor shower in his warm living room. He was running a feed to his TV from his observatory all sky cam. I might have to take Chris up on his offer to view the Geminids that way in a couple weeks.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton