A Great 2002 Leonid Meteor Shower - November 19, 2002

It was very noticeable that many meteors this year had green, ionized tails.  Some spectacular 'slow' and bright meteors coming directly out of the radiant in Leo.  And even though the full Moon dimmed the great majority of the meteors this year, it was still a spectacular show at the Poppy Reserve.  We didn't seem to have any of the self-destructing ones that we saw last year, shedding pieces as the came in and then ending in a single bright flash.

The Antelope Valley Astronomy club had about 75 people at the peak come out and observe with the club this year, many like myself didn't even drive out until Midnight.  Our President was out there at sunset at 5:00 PM on Monday, but didn't see much until 9:00 or so.  Even while driving out I could see that the meteors were bright and frequent.  In the parking lot, I quickly met people from Pacific Palisades and Hollywood who had driven up to the high desert just for this event.  And the event did not disappoint.  The temperature stayed in the high 40s even at their coldest.  And there wasn't any wind.  A warm jacket, hat and a cup of hot cocoa was all you needed to have a wonderful time.

My thanks to the State Park System of California and the fine men and women who allow events like this to take place in their facilities.  Our deepest appreciation is expressed from each of our members for the resources that you have let us use.  We will try to keep using this privilege responsibly.


November 19, 2002 Early AM

Counts by group: Mary Andrus, Darrell Bennett, Corine Cudney, Paul Cudney, Tom Koonce, Terry Pedroza, Bill Riedhart, Jennifer Riedhart, James Rothenflue, Lisa Rothenflue; Antelope Valley Astronomy Club

For the five minutes centered around: (All times PST)

Poppy Reserve (118.5 W, 34.7 N.)

bullet   01:45 - 5 meteors (1 per minute)
bullet   02:00 - 11 meteors (2 per minute)
bullet   02:15 - 40 meteors (8 per minute) !
bullet   02:40 - 35 meteors (7 per minute)
bullet   03:00 - 6 meteors (1 per minute)


* Independent Count by James Rothenflue:

bullet15 minutes from 02:15 to 02:30:  167 meteors (33 per minute)

* Extrapolated hourly counts:  500 meteors per hour (!)

Just 100 more years to go until such a thing is seen again!  Can't wait!!