November 16th, 2009

baby i'm a big star

tempest in a tempel-tuttle teapot

be sure and watch the sky.

ophelia has a moon roof :)

"those in the eastern u.s. and canada are especially favored because leo will be high in the southeast sky between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. est, just before earth is expected to exit the meteor cloud. for the west coast, this translates to 12:30 to 2:30 a.m. pst, when leo is much lower down in the eastern sky.

although the overall meteor numbers are expected to be modest at best, the particles that produce them might be larger than the usual flecks of dust that comprise the leonid swarm. recall that this cloud of comet particles was released into space in 1567. when such "comet bits" circle the sun for many hundreds of years, the tinier (dust grain) material tends to be pushed away from the sun and dispersed by the pressure of solar radiation. conversely, because they are relatively unaffected by radiation pressure and leave the comet nucleus with less velocity than their smaller brethren do, the larger pebble-to-marble sized particles tend to linger for a much longer time.

the result could be meteors that are predominantly bright. watch for the possibility of catching sight of a fireball or bolide (a meteor that silently explodes like a strobe along its path). about half might leave luminous trains lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. indeed, catching sight of even one such meteor will make the vigil of a cold november night worthwhile!
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