archiv~1: SETI [Fwd: (meteorobs) Leonid Meteor Shower]

SETI [Fwd: (meteorobs) Leonid Meteor Shower]

Nico L. ( (no email) )
Fri, 06 Nov 1998 23:33:38 +0100

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Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 21:05:12 GMT
From: Ron Baalke <>
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Subject: (meteorobs) Leonid Meteor Shower
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Griffith Observatory Press Release

Leonid Meteor Shower

There may be a significant meteor shower on the morning of Tuesday,
November 17 (or, less likely, on the morning of November 18).

Every November 17, when the earth passes near the orbit of Comet
Tempel-Tuttle, we pass through a sparse swarm of comet debris and
experience a minor meteor shower that generally goes unnoticed. Every 33
years, however, the earth passes through a dense knot of this cometary
material, and there is the possibility of a dramatic meteor storm when the
sky might fill with thousands of "falling stars." This year there may be
such a brief meteor storm lasting no more than a few hours. Although the
shower is predicted to be strongest over Asia, enough meteors may fall over
California to make the night very interesting. This is a meteor shower that
sky watchers should not miss.

The best time to observe the shower from the United States will be the few
hours before dawn on Tuesday morning, November 17. There is less likelihood
of a shower on the morning of the 18th. Few meteors will fall before 1 a.m.
Although it is difficult to estimate the actual rate, an observer in a dark
location will likely see dozens of meteors per hour. There may be brief
periods lasting several minutes when quite a few meteors fall, followed by
periods of relative calm.

The meteors radiate from the direction of Leo, the Lion, and for that
reason they are called the Leonids. Leo is low in the east before dawn, but
the meteors will appear all over the sky. Leonid meteors strike the earth's
atmosphere at high speed, 44 miles per second, and often leave smoke
trails. The moon is almost new and out of the way.

Because of the early hour, Griffith Park will not be open for meteor
observing. Observers should plan to be far from city lights. The
Observatory is often asked to recommend an observing location, but the
answer is -- go away from the city to where it is dark.

For additional information on the Leonid meteors please visit these web sites:

International Meteor Organization:

Leonid 98:

Meteor Storm Hazard:

Media i Corporation (live CCD images from Japan):


Griffith Observatory Griffith phone: (323) 664-1181
2800 East Observatory Road Griffith fax: (323) 663-4323
Los Angeles, California 90027 USA

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