Leonids’ Weather

November 17, 2014

meteor-shower-1833-grangerClear and chilly outside this early Monday — way-high, wispy clouds, though, will most-likely tone-down sunshine — but this little patch of California’s north coast does feel the sense of real, around-here cold for the first time this year.
Temperatures reportedly in the low-40s with a slight, sharp-crisp breeze, the ambience on my back patio is an uncomfortable warning: Winter cometh.

Yet not real, real winter. Across a big chunk of the US, weather is a most-vital factor, well beyond just being freakin’ ‘uncomfortable.’
Cold as shit, yes, but no big, abnormal deal. And no polar vortex…yet.
Hype even in weather — Meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters: “This is just a regular old cold front. The polar vortex has been around forever. It’s just the media happened to notice it last year, and it’s really not a very scientifically accurate thing to talk about.”
No worries…

(Illustration found here).

Leonids are coming!
Rockets galore starting this afternoon!

My noted enthusiasms for the return of these shooting stars (they occur every November) is based on weather. If the trend of the last few days is any indication, this tiny space along the coast should have clear skies above us and maybe I can finally eye-ball a meteor shower. Seemingly in the past, with just about any form of meteor shower — from the Lyrids (in the spring), the Perseids (mid-summer), to the Ursids (in December), or any variety in between, the event is usually/always hidden behind a fog bank, or fog/low clouds, or fog/mist, or fog/and anything. And since I suffer from a bit of insomnia, I’m sure to be fairly wide-assed awake at 2 AM, supposedly a good viewing time.

As portrayed by the woodcarving above, the highlight of this Leonid-spectacle was the 1833 storm where counts on one night went as high as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, but tomorrow’s should be way-more mundane, with expectations set for between 10 and 15 an hour — which ain’t bad, one every five/six minutes or so. The last big peak was 2002 (about a 1,000 an hour) and the last real-big one was 1966 with shooting stars “too numerous to count.”
All I want to really see is at least one every once in awhile.

From Scientific American this morning:

The “shooting stars” from the Leonid meteor shower appear to come out of the constellation Leo, which will climb into view in the northern hemisphere after midnight.
The meteors are bits of dust and rock from the tail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, which does a loop around the sun every 33 years.
Every November, Earth passes through the debris field left behind by Tempel-Tuttle, and the bits of debris “ram into the atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles an hour,” according to StarDate magazine.
The dust and rocks burn up in the atmosphere, creating the gorgeous light show seen on Earth.

This year, Tempel-Tuttle is approaching the near far end of its elongated orbit, and in a couple-more Novembers, will be as far from the sun as it can fly.
And if the fog bank unexpectedly/expectedly appears in the morning, there’s options — via SA:

NASA’s live stream will include a sky view from a telescope at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
That stream will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT Tuesday) and will continue until sunrise on Tuesday Nov. 18.
The Slooh live stream will begin on Monday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 p.m. EST (0100 GMT Tuesday) and will include more than just shots of the sky: Slooh will also broadcast audio of the “ionization sounds” created by the meteors.
As the meteors streak through the sky, they briefly ionize the atmosphere.
For a few seconds, the ionized region reflects short-wavelength radio waves, creating short blips and beeps of sound.
Slooh’s broadcast will also include interviews with astronomers.
You can watch the Leonid meteor shower webcasts on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh and NASA.

And for the rest of Monday…

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