Leonid Fever

The 2006 Leonid meteor shower is this Saturday (Nov. 18), and some are saying it could be an impressive one. Here’s a few articles/guides, if you’re interested in learning more about how to view the shower and what kind of activity there will be in your part of the world:

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/061114_leonid_news.html

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/061117_leonid_guide.html

Peak viewing time is 11:45 EST, which means that I actually might be able to catch a few meteors before bed. I love to watch meteor showers, and I woke at around 5AM for the amazing 2001 Leonid meteor storm, which was unforgettable. I lived about a quarter-mile from downtown Charlotte NC in 2001, and there was horrible light pollution in my viewing area. But I knew that this wasn’t going to be any typical meteor event, and it might be worthwhile even with serious light pollution affecting my viewing.

What people saw who watched under dark skies, I can’t even imagine. The show was spectacular even in a semi-urban backyard a quarter-mile from the city center. I lay in my nightgown on a chaise longue on the patio, freezing cold, watching colored streaks cross the night sky. Purple, green, and one golden fireball. I’d never seen colored meteors before. Amazing.

This shower won’t be anything like that. But since this is an “early” shower, with peak viewing around midnight, I’ll probably go for it.

If you want to watch a meteor shower, I say get horizontal. You need to be able to stare at the sky for long stretches, and craning your neck back will become tiresome. I like a lounge chair like you’d lie on the beach on, and I have one specifically for skywatching. Dress warmly and cover yourself with blankets. You’ll want to be warm and comfy when the stars start to fall.

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