Cfje occasional netogletter of
Vol. 5 Number 4
9n this issue:
Meteor storm forecast
The Howe diaries "come home"
Lighting pollution notes
1999 open house schedule
Honor Roll & FOCO activities
A POSSIBLE METEOR STORM IS FORECAST...
Astronomers and satellite owners are awaiting the
Leonid meteor shower Nov. 17. The annual event may be
sufficiently intense this year to qualify as a meteor
"storm." Meteor showers occur when the Earth re-encounters a
trail of fine, rocky debris trailing a comet orbiting near
the sun, and are named after the constellation from which
meteors appear to radiate, sometimes involving hundreds or
thousands of particles per hour. The constellation Leo rises
after midnight in November, and the dark moon favors meteor
viewing Nov. 16/17. Most meteors burn up at 10 miles or more
above ground level, posing no risk to people. The quickly
moving particles, however, can impact and damage satellites.
To observe the largest number of fainter meteors,
find a dark place away from lights, and look east and up,
especially after twilight ends. The Leonids are forecast to
peak around noon Denver time, Nov.17. Forecasting precise
times and magnitudes is difficult, but the window runs from 8
p.m. local time Nov.16 through noon Nov.17. It's also
possible to gauge shower intensity with an FM or shortwave
radio. The ionization trails left by meteors can briefly
cause distant FM station signals to "bounce" and be heard
locally. Tune your receiver to a blank channel and listen for
variable reception of an unfamiliar station. The clearer the
signal becomes, the more meteors there may be overhead.
Following a highly successful Colorado Astronomy Day, October
24th, the forthcoming Chamberlin Observatory Open House
schedule includes Nov.21 and Dec.5. DU and the DAS have
planned for Saturday evening open houses in 1999 on Jan.23,
Feb.20, Mar.27, Apr.24, May22, Jun.19, Jul.17, Aug.21,
Sep.18, Oct.16, Nov.13 and Dec.11, weather permitting.