• MSNBC: Meteor shower wows stargazers
  • Early this morning I got up and left my place at 4 a.m. to watch the Leonid Meteor Shower. I made it out to my viewing location (on Sand Rock Road under the H.E. Baily Turnpike, 1 mile S. of Golf Course Rd/SW 24th, and 1/2 mile W. of MacArthur… in the nevernever land between Newcastle and Blanchard). The location worked out well as I could use the overpass to block the full moon, but it was still too close to OKC so it was still not as dark as it could have been…

    But anyway, despite being so close to OKC, the display was phenomenal. For kicks, I decided to count the falling stars that I saw between 4:15 and 5:15 a.m. The final count was: 169! Most of the meteors were fast and dim, but many were larger and left brief trails of smoke (maybe for half a second), and maybe 5 were giant fireballs bigger and brighter than any object in the sky besides the moon.

    As far as where they were at in the sky, they were found all over the eastern sky, from about 30 degrees above the horizon to almost straight up perpendicular from the ground. They also seemed to appear in spurts, sometimes three or four in rapid succession (one time there were two at the same time both appearing in my peripheral vision on oposite corners of the Eastern sky), then nothing for 2 minutes.

    Overall it was quite thrilling and worth the cold and missing sleep. (amazingly I did make it to class this morning, but I might take a nap in the student union before my afternoon class)

    Going on a tangent, being out there reminded me of the last big meteor shower I saw when I was in Austin. I decided that night to go out to the Loop 360 bridge (there are giant cliffs on the north bank of the river overlooking the bridge that Austinites climb up to see the view). As it turned out quite a few other folks had the same idea as I, maybe 50-100 folks. I rememember the display was very good. It wasn’t as dramatic as this morning’s meteor shower but it lasted much longer, and I ended up staying up staying out there all night long (even running into some friends from church, Bill and Blake). It was quite a night and one of my favorite memories.