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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 21:13:50 EST
Subject: LEONIDS - STORM?

Hi all,

Don't forget that the traditional Leonid maximum is forecast for this Sunday 
(17th) evening. Rates may have started to drop a little by the time the 
radiant gets high enough for good viewing (after midnight for most of us), 
but there should still be some reasonable activity, in spite of the 
moonlight, say from about 01.00 to dawn.

Then there's the first of the predicted additional 'storms' on Tuesday 
morning (we won't see the second one from GB or Ireland, as it will be at 
10.00, in our daylight). Asher & McNaught, and other workers, predict a high 
sharp peak around 03.55 on Tuesday morning, 19 November. The predicted rates 
vary from a ZHR of around 1,000 up to about 5,000, or higher.

But remember that (1) the actual rates are very hard to predict accurately 
(whereas the time should be correct to within about 15 minutes or better), 
and (2) we won't see rates equal to the ZHR! This stands for 'Zenithal Hourly 
Rate', and it is the number of meteors which would be seen per hour by AN 
EXPERIENCED OBSERVER, in a TOTALLY DARK SKY (LM = 6m.5), and with the RADIANT 
IN THE ZENITH.

For all of us, two of those three won't apply: because of the moonlight we 
may see only about 1/3  of the ZHR, and the radiant never reaches the zenith 
from Ireland, although it will be quite high up at the time of the predicted 
maximum. So don't expect a 'snowstorm' of meteors. But we might see dozens 
per minute for a short period, centred around 03.55 on Tuesday morning.

If you can't observe from radiant-rise (say around midnight) until dawn, 
concentrate on the period from 03.00 to 05.00, or if even that's too much, 
from 03.30 to 04.30.

The radiant lies in the 'Sickle of Leo', about a palm-span left of brilliant 
Jupiter, in the SE sky. Most meteors can be seen when you look about 45 
degrees away from the radiant, and about 50 degrees above the horizon - but 
look anywhere in the sky, at whatever part is darkest, i.e. away from 
artificial lights and the moon.

This is the last chance in our lifetimes to see a Leonid meteor storm from 
Ireland/GB, so give it your best shot!

If you are clouded out, you might like to find out what's happening 
elsewhere, so check out this site, which will be giving live coverage from 
around the world:

"NASA TV kicks off live coverage of the 2002 Leonid meteor storm on Monday
evening, Nov. 18th.  The broadcast will feature live reports from meteor
watchers around the world, a toll-free telephone number for members of the
public, and weird meteor sounds.

FULL STORY at

The Leonids TV Show 
-http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/16nov_leonidstv.htm 

BTW, Yours truly will be doing a radio interview (barring other major 
breaking news) on Downtown Radio on Sunday (17th) afternoon, between 2 p.m. 
and 3 p.m., on the Leonid prospects, but you probably won't learn anything 
you don't already know.

Good Luck, and Clear Skies!

Let me know how you fare!

Terry Moseley

Last Revised: 2002 November 18th
WWW contact: webmaster@star.arm.ac.uk
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