The Leonids - November 18

Photos taken between 0900 and 1100 UT (4AM - 6AM, EST)

Got up about 4AM looked out the window and sure enough there were meteors falling!  About 26F so with long johns, wool hat, jacket and a hot cup of coffee set up my camera.  I shot 24 exposures on Fuji 800 print film between 4AM and about 6AM.  Too cold and/or lazy to make accurate exposure notes but thanks to dark skies was able to leave the camera on most of the time. 

I didn't count, but several times noted as many as 5-6 trails in a few seconds.  Most of the trails visible to the naked eye didn't capture well on film.  However, about 6 of my 24 exposures had significant tracks and 1 shot showed three faint tracks that point to the radiant in Leo.

My strategy was simple: Open the shutter and enjoy the view and if something big happened close the shutter and advance the film.  Point the camera to a new section of sky especially if more tracks were visible there and open the shutter again.  Wake the rest of the family, get another cup of coffee and enjoy a spectacular view.  Serendipitously got to the end of the roll at about 6AM as the sky started to lighten. 

Great Show!

Looking SW and trail out of Orion.  Pa Turnpike plaza lights in lower left

Camera pointed to NW.  Cassiopeia at the bottom of the frame. North to the right

Looking South.  Note 3 faint tracks; one on lower left and two above and to the right of  the Ham radio antenna.  These point to the radiant in Leo.  Trajectories shown in red in second picture.

Camera pointed to zenith.  Trail is blue to red but some of the color detail is lost in the scan of the prints.


Looking North.  Note pole star in upper right.  Exposure was probably greater than 10 minutes.

Last frame and probably the brightest trail recorded.  Looking NW with Cassiopeia below the trail.