The North American peak for the Leonid metoer shower has passed earlier this morning. I camped out in my light polluted Montreal suburban backyard between 4 and 6 am and caught sight of 9 Leonids streaking across the starry skies. These numbers are surely quite a bit lower than what really was happening in the overhead sky, simply because of the artificially bright sky blocking most of the show. I was only able to see the very brightest. International numbers are still waiting to be updated to see what observers around the globe saw- stay tuned. Also waiting to see what the BIG second outburst will produce in Asia later this afternoon our time.
In any case the Leonids I saw were super fast shooting stars that had definite colour to them – green, yellow and blue. I managed to snag one neat snapshot of a brief short meteor coming straight out of the head of Leo, the lion constellation. The image below also shows the planet Mars, and even a satellite pass – which turns out to be an old Russian rocket booster Cosmos 2234, launched in 1993 and now tumbling around Earth 850 km in altitude. The night sky was busy!
The image below is the enlargement of the above metoer showing the colours and a burst event as it ionized through the upper atmosphere, flying 200,000 km per hour.
Tags: Leonids, meteor shower
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