Friday, November 17, 2006

Leonids! Leonids! LEONIDS!

Rima posted recently about seeing a shooting star. I immediately thought of the Leonid meteor shower, an annual meteor shower that takes place aroung this time each year.

The most spectacular meteor shower I have ever seen was the 1999 Leonid shower - in a very short period of time I saw dozens of bright, long-trailed meteors, one after another after another, some of which left behind lingering "smoke" trails that were quickly twisted and knotted by high-altitude winds. Viewers were blown away across the country - one NPR commentator the next day quoted a friend as saying "now I know where they got the idea for fireworks."

Most years the Leonids are a pretty decent storm, but word is that this year's shower might be superb, though not quite on par with the 1999 event. If you're in the United States, go outside late Saturday night - around 11:30 if you're on the East Coast. Dress warmly, get a comfortable chair (I favor Adirondack chairs because the high, slightly reclined back puts you in a good position for viewing the sky while minimizing neck strain), and look to the South. You can find out more information on viewing the Leonids from your location by going to this page from NASA, and lots of solid information about this particular shower and meteors in general by going to this page from the American Meteor Society.

1 comment:

rimalicious said...

I didn't read this until today, but I think I may have seen some anyway. I was at a party Saturday night and we were outside most of the time. I saw what I thought were 3 or 4 shooting stars through out the night ...