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Meteor Storm Set to Dazzle Star Gazers


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Guest Low Roller

Meteor Storm Set to Dazzle Star Gazers

Nov. 15

LONDON (Reuters) - Star gazers in Europe, Britain and North America are in for a treat next week and have prime viewing positions for what could be the biggest natural fireworks display of the 21st century.

During the early hours of November 19 thousands of meteors, or shooting stars, will light up the night sky as they enter the atmosphere at speeds of about 160,000 miles per hour.

"It is a natural fireworks display, a celestial spectacle," Professor Mark Bailey, of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, told Reuters on Friday.

Known as the Leonids because they originate in the constellation Leo, the meteor storm will occur in two bursts during the night of November 18 to 19.

Britain and Europe will have the best views for the first burst of the shower that scientists predict will occur at about 10:50 p.m. EDT and residents in North America are best placed to see the second barrage at about 5:30 a.m. EDT.

"You have two components to the shower, two parts of the world that are potentially able to observe it," Bailey added.

Although a full moon might dull the spectacle a bit, this year's storm could be the biggest for the next 100 years, with 1,000 meteors per hour trailing across the sky in the first burst and as many as 6,000 per hour during the second.

"The U.S. is better off than we are but on the other hand a thousand in an hour is probably more than most people see in a lifetime," Bailey said.

METEORIC DEBRIS

Meteors are bits of rock and dust that hit the Earth's atmosphere, heat up and glow. Most vaporize as they descend but some explode.

The Leonids are debris from the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. About every 33 years the comet returns to the inner solar system and releases materials that form new dust trails that stretch from the comet many millions of miles away.

The comet is due to return to the inner solar system around 2033 and 2066 but the meteor storms are not expected to be as spectacular.

"The Earth just happens to be going through this very fine trail of meteoric debris. That trail that we run into at four in the morning on Tuesday the 19th was emitted during its passage around the sun in 1767," Bailey said.

The trail the Earth will pass through during the second part of the storm was emitted 1866.

Thanks to calculating techniques developed by David Asher, of the Armagh Observatory, and Robert McNaught, of the Australian National University, Bailey said meteor storm prediction has become more precise.

"If the weather forecast sounds like it may be vaguely clear, it will be well worth it."

Copyright 2002 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. (LR: so sue me.)

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Guest Low Roller

I would say the best place in the Ottawa area would be in Kanata or some other suburb. Too many lights in the actual city itself.

I'm probably going to stay up, or get up, to watch it as well.

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Good news

Monday, November 18, 2002

Not just snow falling

By Sun staff, CP

ASTRONOMERS, both professional and casual -- are gearing up for some once-in-a-century entertainment tonight and early tomorrow morning.

Skywatchers should be able to see 20-30 shooting stars a minute as part of the Leonid meteor shower starting at around 11 p.m. and going as late as 6 a.m.

The spectacle is expected to be visible all over Canada and you can watch with your eye.

And despite the cloudy, snowy weekend, Andre Cyr, meteorologist with Environment Canada, said Ottawans should be able to get a good look at the Leonids.

"They'll probably see it, from what I can see," he said. "There'll be good breaks in the clouds, if not clear."

"It will be very spectacular," said Peter Brown, an astronomy professor at the University of Western Ontario. "We won't see another major Leonid show until the end of the 21st century."

The Leonids are named after the constellation Leo, from where it appears to radiate.

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One of the best places I've found for star gazing is the beach in Constance Bay. It's a bit of a drive from the City (45 mins) but so worth it. Very few houses, the water in front of you and nothing else around to mar to view or sounds of nature!

(On a summer side note-this is also a great place for late night dipping sans clothing, very few onlookers=no police interference!)

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quote:

Originally posted by Kitari:

One of the best places I've found for star gazing is the beach in Constance Bay. It's a bit of a drive from the City (45 mins) but so worth it. Very few houses, the water in front of you and nothing else around to mar to view or sounds of nature!

(On a summer side note-this is also a great place for late night dipping sans clothing, very few onlookers=no police interference!)

I had a cottage there last summer...Nice place!

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[Frown] BOO HOO...moons too big and bright.(no offense Moon)

I even climbed in the car and drove for about a half hour further past Carp....then it got real foggy.

Although on my way back with my old freind Mary J, CBCs' Northern Lights show was on and as I weaved along the twisty, back country roads, burning speeds of up to 30 kms. They played Willy Nelson doing Stardust and an orchestral version of What A Wonderfull World....beautifully sappy [Wink] ..and I saw a herd of deer [big Grin]

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Stardate 11192002 0330 hrs.

The trek begins on this frigid morning, off to hopefully see the Leonids, very excited for what could be the event of a lifetime. Suit myself up, snowpants the whole nine, the snow will be so soft as I lay down, I can`t wait. Mexican coffee in my belly is warming me up, getting even more excited.

0450 hrs-Hit the 417, not many others on the great Ottawa thoroughfare this morning. Still dreaming of seeing some beautiful shooting stars. The Mexican coffee is making my belly rumble.

0500 hrs-Now in southern Barrhaven, a little ball diamond that in the summer I call home. Where were the rest of the Bulldogs this morning, I am sure they were bundled up in thier warm beds, but today I will not be on 1st base, I will have my back on the ground and my sleepy eyes will be staring up into the heavens.

0510 hrs-Asparagus has neatly unfolded his tarp and laid it on the ground. The snow is so fresh here, untouched until we trapsed through it to find our own little piece of heaven here on earth, not yet wanting to look up, I want to be surprised when I see the sky above our fair little city light up with gigantic pieces of space rock pulsing through the sky.

0512 hrs-IT IS TIME, I LAY DOWN AND STARE STRAIGHT UP, MY GOD IT`S GOING TO BE BEAUTIFUL...I ADJUST MY FOCUS TO THE NORTHEAST, AND THERE BEFORE MY EYES WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL --- CLOUD? I HAD EVER SEEN...IT WAS SO BIG THAT I COULD ONLY SEE ONE GODDAM STAR AND IT WAS STATIONARY. IT THEN STARTED TO DISSAPPEAR SO I ASSUME ITS GETTING CLOUDIER BY THE SECOND...SO MUCH FOR WAKING UP AT 3:30 IN THE FRIGGIN MORNING, NOW I AM GOING TO BE SO EXHAUSTED AT WORK...GEEZ!!! MIGHT AS WELL GO TO TIMMY`S AND GET A COFFEE AND A BAGEL...HMMM THE GUY WORKING THE COUNTER AT TIMMY`S HAS SNOT IN HIS MOUSTACHE, NOBODY ELSE NOTICED IT BUT I DID...I DOUBT THAT WAS CREAM CHEESE ON MY BAGEL...

0745 hrs...ps, i didn`t really think that cloud was beautiful...it really pissed me off...

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