Friday, November 16, 2012

Leonid meteor shower (and the Taurids & Orionids, too)

Conditions should be nearly perfect for the annual Leonid meteor shower: a waxing crescent moon and clear weather should make for spectacular viewing.
from Sky & Telescope

The best viewing of the Leonids will be from about 1:00 a.m. to dawn on 17 November 2012. That means Friday night (16 November) for those of you like me that have trouble keeping the a.m./p.m. thing separate from the date.

How to find them: find Ursa Major (aka the Big Dipper) and look to the right (east). You can also get a map of the sky for your mobile device or computer.

The best way to view these meteors streaking away from Leo is to look straight up. This means bringing a nice, comfortable lounge/camp chair outside to sit in. You'll also want to bundle up and bring plenty of blankets- sitting still outside in the cold, pre-dawn hours is not an activity that will warm your blood. A thermos full of hot coffee or chocolate might be nice, too.

At the same time the Leonids are peaking (20-30 meteors per hour under ideal conditions) near Ursa Major, the Taurids will be waning near the Pleiades and the Orionids (debris from Comet Halley) near Orion. The Taurids and Orionids are of much less frequency (10-15 meteors per hour) but should add a few more shooting stars to the sky.

Need more information? Check out the links below.

More Info
from the web

from Ball State Libraries (CardCat)
Comets & meteors [videorecording] 
DVD Video 9716 (EdRes)

Comets, meteors & asteroids--how they affect earth 
QB721.4 .G53 1985 (Gen-Coll)

Cosmic pinball : the science of comets, meteors, and asteroids 
QB721 .S85 2000 (Gen-Coll)

The doomsday lobby : hype and panic from Sputniks, Martians, and marauding meteors
Q127 .U6 B46 2010 (Gen-Coll)

The heavens on fire : the great Leonid meteor storms
QB745 .L58 1998 (Gen-Coll)

A most pleasant prospect : into the garden of naturall contemplation, to behold the natuall causes of all kinde of meteors ...: of which sort the blazing starres, shooting starres, flames in the aire, &c. thunder, lightning, earthquakes, &c. raine, dew, snow, clouds, springs, &c. stones, metals, and earths ...
PR1121 .S54 NO.11441 (Archives- no circ)

Observing meteors, comets, supernovae, and other transient phenomena
QB63 .B66 1999 (Gen-Coll)

The physics and astronomy of meteors, comets and meteorites
QB741 .H38 (Gen-Coll)

Space garbage : comets, meteors, and other solar-system debris : guest star, Halley's Comet 
QB741 .M37 1985 (Gen-Coll)