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Thread: Leonids!

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    Blocking your fire exits coffeecake's Avatar
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    Leonids!

    Who's gonna watch 'em? Nov. 16,17 & 18.
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
    ~ Oscar Wilde

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    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    What channel?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

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    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Based on the weather report, I don't think I will.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

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    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    One of the best annual meteor showers will peak in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and for some skywatchers the show could be quite impressive.


    The best seats are in Asia, but North American observers should be treated to an above average performance of the Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting. The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning between 1 a.m. and dawn regardless where you live.


    The Leonids put on a solid show every year, if skies are clear and moonlight does not interfere. This year the moon is near its new phase, and not a factor. For anyone in the Northern Hemisphere with dark skies, away from urban and suburban lighting, the show should be worth getting up early to see.


    "We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Other astronomers who work in the nascent field of meteor shower prediction have put out similar forecasts.


    Urban dwellers and suburbanites will see far fewer, as the fainter meteors will be drowned out by local lights.


    Behind the Leonids


    The Leonids are created by the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which passes through the inner solar system every 33 years on its orbit around the sun. Each time by, it leaves a new river of debris, mostly bits of ice and rock no bigger than a sand grain but a few the size of a pea or marble.


    Over time, these cosmic streams spread out, so predicting exactly what will happen is difficult.


    "We can predict when Earth will cross a debris stream with pretty good accuracy," Cooke said. "The intensity of the display is less certain, though, because we don't know how much debris is in each stream."


    When Earth plows into the debris, the bits hit the atmosphere and vaporize, creating sometimes dramatic streaks of light and the occasional fireball with a smoky-looking trail that can remain visible for several minutes.


    The Leonid stream is moving in the opposite direction of Earth, producing impact speeds of 160,000 mph (72 kilometers per second) higher than many other meteors.


    "Such speeds tend to produce meteors with hues of white, blue, aquamarine and even green," says Joe Rao, SPACE.com's skywatching columnist.


    How to watch


    The best viewing will be in rural areas. Get out of town if you can. If you have local lights, scout a location in advance where the lights are blocked by a building, tree or hill.


    Dress warmly, and take a blanket or lounge chair so you can lie back and scan as much of the sky as possible. "At this time of year, meteor watching can be a long, cold business," Rao reminds people.


    Leonids can appear anywhere, but if you trace them back, they all point to a hub, or radiant, in the constellation Leo hence the name.


    Give your eyes 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Then give the show at least a half-hour. The hourly rates stated above typically come in bursts, with lulls that may test your patience. No special equipment is needed. Telescopes and binoculars are of no use because meteors move too quickly.


    When to watch

    Earth will pass through one of the denser debris streams at around 4 a.m. EST (1 a.m. PST) Tuesday. If you have only an hour or less to watch, center it around this time. Leo will be high in the sky for East Coast skywatchers, putting more meteors into view. In the West, Leo will be low in the eastern sky at this time, so fewer shooting stars will be above the horizon, and therefore Western skywatchers should also try to stick it out until daybreak.

    Across Europe, the best bet is to watch anytime between 1 a.m. and daybreak local time.

    The planet will pass through an even denser stream later, just before dawn Wednesday in Indonesia and China, but that show won't be visible from North America because it will be daytime here.

    One truth about the Leonids: They always produce, and they sometimes produce spectacular, unforgettable fireballs.
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  5. #5
    beast mode bluevelo's Avatar
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    Cool. I'm teleworking tomorrow so I might be able to catch some of the show...

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Leonids!

    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    Who's gonna watch 'em? Nov. 16,17 & 18.
    I tried on this morning 11/17, and posted a thread on the Commuter Forum that I tagged onto a prior thread about the Orionid meteor Shower in October. See: "Hey you early morning commuters"

    Hey you early morning commuters including my obsevations on post #13.

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    Dave TRUMPHENT's Avatar
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    I just saw one about 20 minutes ago. Homestead Fl. It was bright and fast. Off to the east and going from north to south. It may have that tool bag that got away during the last Hubble mission, or not.

  8. #8
    Squirrelly Member trsidn's Avatar
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    woops, I forgot....
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Yet more proof that I'm.. well, pretty much right about everything.

  9. #9
    JF1
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    Senior Member JF1's Avatar
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    Check this out:
    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=8714738

    I was just getting ready to go to bed when a bright light lit up our room. Lasted at least 5 seconds. The first thing that came to my mind when I looked out the window was a Nuclear explosion somewhere.
    J
    Good times.

  10. #10
    Dave TRUMPHENT's Avatar
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    That does it. I'm moving to Tunguska.

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