(IAAC) SHOOTING STARS: Prospects for Leonids...
This weekend's weather prospects are very dim, BUT the current forecast does
call for clearing Sunday, so... The Leonids are predicted to peak on November
17 this year, with enhanced activity expected at or around 5am that morning.
(Note that I say "enhanced": this may mean a few extra meteors per hour. But
there's the small CHANCE it may mean a once-in-a-lifetime meteor storm, with
shooting stars "falling like rain" and filling the sky for an hour or two!)
If it is clear this Monday morning (and you are awake), try going out for
whatever time you can, to watch for this event. Stand in the shadow of a
building or other shade to escape the glare of the waning gibbous moon, and
face an unobstructed part of the sky AWAY from the moon. (My suggestion is to
dress VERY warmly, then wrap up in an all-season sleeping bag on a lawn
With luck, you'll see some swift, bright, colorful meteors, and perhaps
fireball or two with nice long-lasting trains ("smoke" trails). With MUCH
you MAY end up seeing a phenomenon you will relate to your grandchildren.
PS: If there is no rain or snow (even if it's cloudy), I will be at the ATMoB
observing site in Westford, MA Monday morning after midnight. Drop by! If you
think you'll be at another site, email me about it this weekend.
Clear (dry) skies all!