Okay. Okay. I know. I know. This
month does NOT wrap up the second millennium. Yes,
we've all been fighting the good fight. Fighting
common culture, and massive media marketing. We
tell our friends, our neighbors, our UPS man. This
is not the end of the millennium. The end of western
civilization's accounting of the second millennium
since the erroneously determined date of the birth
of Christ won't be for another year! Let's get it
Well, the fact is, the whole thing
is a mess anyway. When Pope Gregory replaced the
Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar (I wonder
if that's what he called it?) scholars thought Jesus
was born in the year they labeled 1 A.D. It turns
out Jesus was most likely born in 4 B.C. So the
whole thing is academic anyway. The true end of
the second millennium came in 1997. Or was it 1996?
I get so confused.
Whatever the actual truth of the
matter, popular culture has spoken. And popular
culture will not be denied! This IS the final month
of the second millennium. So, welcome to the last
president's letter of the millennium. Of course
the title of my president's message in December
2000 will be "The Last President's Letter of
the Millennium -- Part 2". This assumes of
course that I am re-elected president of OCA. Oh
yes, OCA. Guess we'd better get back to the subject
at hand. Sorry, this happens to me every millennium
We had two big observing highlights this past month.
The much anticipated Leonid meteor storm did occur,
albeit not in truly apocalyptic numbers.. Nevertheless,
Zenithal Hourly Rates (ZHR) greater than 2000 were
recorded in more than one location in Europe and
the Middle East.
How many of you monitored the Moon
during the peak? Brian Cudnik of Houston, Texas
did. And he caught a whopper. He video recorded
a bright flash on the darkened portion of the waxing
Moon most likely caused by the lunar impact of a
sizable Leonid meteor during the peak of the storm.
Check it out at http://iota.jhuapl.edu.
Even though we didn't really expect
a Leonid meteor storm here in the West, many of
us took extra measures to observe this year, just
in case. But after a few hours of dodging clouds,
observing about ten meteors an hour, the clouds
finally took over about 2 A.M. making my bed look
Thanks to Chris McGill for opening
the Silverado site for the event. Jay Glowacki has
a report both in this month's SA and on the web
Thanks also to Bob Gill who hosted
a terrific "Transit of Mercury" observing
party at Cal State Fullerton. It made the front
page of the OC Register.
See you at the December meeting!
"The goodness of the night
Othello Act 1 Scene 2
Brian Cudnik records Leonids impact on the Moon
OC Register Article on the Mercury Transit
Jay Glowacki's Leonids observing summary