Leonids Rain in Spain
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Leonids Rain in Spain
November 18, 1999: According to preliminary data reported
by the International Meteor Organization
and the Leonids Environment Operations
Center, there was an intense outburst of Leonid meteors over
Europe and the Middle East on Thursday morning, November 18.
Maximum activity was recorded around 0200 UT as the Earth passed
through the debris stream of comet Tempel-Tuttle.
An outburst of over 1500 Leonid meteors per hour
dazzled observers in Europe and the Middle East.
"We observed many, many, many Leonids falling from the sky," said Casper ter Kuile of the Dutch Meteor Society, who was working with a team of observers located between Valencia and Alicante in Spain. "Our experienced visual observers counted about 30 Leonids per minute!"
Above: Scores of meteors near the bowl of the Little Dipper, in a 10 to 12 minute exposure by A. Scott Murrell during the 1966 Leonid storm. He used a 50-mm f/1.9lens and Tri-X film in a camera tracking the stars at New Mexico State University Observatory. [credits]
The high rate noted by observers in Spain, over 1800 meteors per hour, was substantially greater than the 500 to 1000 per hour that most experts had predicted. The storm was even more intense over parts of the Middle East, where members of the Israeli Astronomical Association recorded 70 meteors per minute for just over a half an hour. Like other global observers, the Israeli team was struck by the abundance of faint meteors and the relative absence of bright fireballs. Preliminary reports by meteor watchers in the Canary Islands and near the Gorges du Verdon in France confirm this general picture of the outburst.
The meteor storm was not seen west of the Atlantic. In North America sky watchers saw relatively few Leonids -- at most 40 to 50 per hour. The majority of these were fast-moving and dim.
Radio measurements from Japan and the Czech Republic confirm the results of visual observers indicating a peak between 2:00 and 2:10 UT. This time coincides with the maximum at 2:08 UT predicted by Asher and McNaught. In their model of the Leonid meteoroid stream, the 1999 storm was caused by a dust trail created when the Leonids parent comet, Tempel-Tuttle, passed by the Sun about 100 years ago. The Asher-McNaught model predicts even bigger Leonid storms in 2001 and 2002.
Above: A global team of observers coordinated by the US Air Force and the University of Western Ontario are continuing to monitor Leonid activity for satellite operators and others. Preliminary data from their observing campaign show a sharp peak in meteor activity just after 200 UT on November 18. [more] Web Links
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Leonids Live! -site of the live webcast of the 1999 Leonids
North American Meteor Network - home page
Leonids on the Moon -- Nov 3, 1999. Leonid meteorite impacts on the Moon might be visible from Earth and provide a means for long-distance lunar prospecting.
NASA Meteor Balloon Rises Again -- Nov 1, 1999. NASA scientists are planning to launch a weather balloon into the stratosphere on November 18 to capture a recording of the Leonids meteor shower from 100,000 ft.
Leonids in the Crystal Ball -- Oct 27, 1999. Is 1999 the year for a Leonids meteor storm? Experts make their predictions.
Pop! Ping! Perseids! -- Aug 13, 1999. The Science@NASA meteor balloon popped before reaching the stratosphere but many meteor enthusiasts still saw and heard the Perseid shower.
Live! Balloon Flight Planned
-- Aug 6, 1999. A NASA weather balloon will ascend to the stratosphere
for a live webcast of the 1999 Perseids.
The Leonid Meteor Outburst of 1997 -- July 16, 1999.Newly released video shows a flurry of Leonids in 1997 that briefly rivaled the great meteor storm of 1966.
Tuning in to April meteor showers -- Apr. 27, 1999. Amateur astronomers capture radio echoes from fiery meteors in April 99.
April's Lyrid meteor shower -- Apr. 21, 1999. The oldest known meteor shower peaks this year on April 22.
A Wild Ride to the Stratosphere in Search of Meteors -- Apr. 14, 1999. The payload from the NASA Meteor Balloon has been recovered.
Meteor Balloon set for Launch -- Apr. 9, 1999. NASA scientists prepare to launch a weather balloon designed to capture micrometeoroids in the stratosphere.
Leonid Sample Return Update -- Apr. 1, 1999. Scientists will describe initial results from a program to catch meteoroids in flight at the NASA/Ames Leonids Workshop April 12-15, 1999.
The Ghost of Fireballs Past -- Dec. 22, 1998. RADAR echoes from Leonid and Geminid meteors.
Bunches & Bunches of Geminids -- Dec. 15, 1998. The Geminids continued to intensify in 1998
The 1998 Leonids: A bust or a blast? -- Nov. 27, 1998. New images of Leonid fireballs and their smoky remnants.
Leonids Sample Return payload recovered! -- Nov. 23, 1998. Scientists are scanning the "comet catcher" for signs of Leonid meteoroids.
Early birds catch the Leonids -- Nov. 19, 1998. The peak of the Leonid meteor shower happened more than 14 hours earlier than experts had predicted.
A high-altitude look at the Leonids -- Nov. 18, 1998. NASA science balloon catches video of 8 fireballs.
The Leonid Sample Return Mission -- Nov. 16, 1998. NASA scientists hope to capture a Leonid meteoroid and return it to Earth.
Great Expectations: the 1998 Leonid meteor shower -- Nov. 10, 1998. The basics of what the Leonids are and what might happen on November 17.
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