Leonids 2009: Road Trip

Location and timing are everything when observing meteors. This years Leonids were predicted to have higher than normal activity at peak, which unfortunately for me would occurred over Asia. However, one never knows what might happen with this infamous shower so I was intent on observing it. After monitoring weather conditions for days it was obvious I had to head west to find clear skies.

The image on the right (click for larger version) is looking south from my observing location at ‘Point of Rocks’ in Cimarron National Grassland . A Leonid meteor streaks through the sword of Orion over the town of Elkhart, Kansas. I directly observed this meteor and stopped the camera shooting sequence after seeing it. Whats amazing is that I observed a fairly bright meteor streak across the sky and what the camera caught was this small streak. Capturing meteors is difficult!

My count of Leonid meteors was small, less than 10 per hour, which is about normal for this annual shower. As predicted a peak occurred over Asia and I bet it was a nice show. Below is a graph adapted from the IMO Leonid 2009 live data with my observing time frame highlighted. Timing is everything.