Monday, November 17, 2014

Meteor Shower 6 a.m. Don't Miss It

With our usual clouds in Kentucky, we don't get a good view of this stuff very often, so take advantage of a clear, dark, and extremely fucking cold pre-dawn.

Late night November 17 until dawn November 18, 2014, the Leonids
Radiating from the constellation Leo the Lion, the famous Leonid meteor shower has produced some of the greatest meteor storms in history – at least one in living memory, 1966 – with rates as high as thousands of meteors per minute during a span of 15 minutes on the morning of November 17, 1966. Indeed, on that beautiful night in 1966, the meteors did, briefly, fall like rain. Some who witnessed the 1966 Leonid meteor storm said they felt as if they needed to grip the ground, so strong was the impression of Earth plowing along through space, fording the meteoroid stream. The meteors, after all, were all streaming from a single point in the sky – the radiant point – in this case in the constellation Leo the Lion. Leonid meteor storms sometimes recur in cycles of 33 to 34 years, but the Leonids around the turn of the century – while wonderful for many observers – did not match the shower of 1966. And, in most years, the Lion whimpers rather than roars, producing a maximum of perhaps 10-15 meteors per hour on a dark night. Like many meteor showers, the Leonids ordinarily pick up steam after midnight and display the greatest meteor numbers just before dawn. In 2014, the waning crescent moon shouldn’t too greatly interfere with this year’s Leonid meteor shower. The peak morning will probably be November 18 – but try November 17, too.

"Shortly before dawn" means shortly before 7 a.m. here in Central Kentucky, so I'm going to be outside in the freaking minus 4 freaking degrees below freaking zero windchill because I am a science geek. With a death-by-pneumonia wish.

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