The Leonids are coming!

Posted On January 1, 2000

by Jay Glowacki, OCA Vice President

Leonids To Be a Real Show Starter

The Leonid meteor shower may be a meteor storm and that means a really great heavenly show is possible and a good one is nearly guaranteed. Wednesday and Thursday mornings between 1 AM (PST) and dawn are the best times to view this event.

General Viewing

The moon will not set until after midnight, making earlier viewing fairly fruitless (but see below). The best place to view the Leonids is any dark sky site and the best way to view is to simply lay back on a lawnchair or a pad and just use your eyes, without binoculars or telescope (but with warm clothes!). However, it is very likely that there will be fireballs, bolides or other meteors that leave a lingering trail, so you may wish to have binoculars handy to get a closer look at those. One should start out by facing toward the East and if you know where the constellation Leo is, look specifically toward that area, because the meteors will appear to originate from that area of the sky. After viewing for a short while, you will get the idea...just face toward the meteor trails! You may also wish to use the fastest film you can find (and maybe 'push' process it) and place your camera on a stand and keep the shutter open for perhaps 15 minutes at a time. You may capture one or more on film. An artistic foreground may also enhance your photo, and a few seconds of flashlight light may add to the photo.

OCA site & group effort for Leonids viewing.

There are a few people who will be at the club is Anza site Thursday morning and we invite you out. As an option, several of us will be counting how many meteors we see and will be submitting the results for scientific compilation to the website. If you wish to count while you watch, for however long you are out looking, you may wish to submit your results either with our group or individually. Either just show up or contact Jay Glowacki, by email or by phone at (310) 831-4199 between 7 and 9 PM. If you arrive after dark, please park at the lower areas and use your parking lights, if safe, after you enter the gate. Bring a red light flashlight. If you wish to count, bring a (clip)board and a pen or pencil.

The Silverado site will also be open to Leonid viewers from around 6:30pm on Wednesday evening - please check with Robert Buchhiem for any specific details you may need. - Liam Kennedy

Lunar Impacts - A Challenge For Amateurs?

On the web site , it states that Leonids striking the unlit area of the first quarter moon may cause vapor clouds which may briefly light up the area of impact and these impacts may be visible in amateur telescopes. Now that sounds like a challenge for amateurs who want something to do in the evening. The best time appears to be between 8 and 10 PM on the 17th. Also possible is a visible cloud of gas caused by an impact near the lunar north pole, just into the dark side IF there is frozen water in a crater. An image of either would surely make for a cover photo, the latter for a real scientific discovery.