Re: (meteorobs) Air Force Space Command Prepares To Weather Leonid Meteor Shower
I'm very concerned about this event. I DON'T want to miss it. I'm getting all
kind of messages stating a different date for the event. I'm taking a day off
just for that! My question is, is it happening on the 17th or the 18th of
Nov.? I live here in California, what's would be the visibility chances here?
Does anyone know? I would really appreciate it very much.
Ron Baalke wrote:
> Air Force Space Command News Service
> Released: 10 Nov 1999
> AFSPC prepares to weather Leonid meteor shower
> By Nicole VanNatter, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
> PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFPN) -- Air Force satellites are expected
> to sail through the potentially worst meteor shower in 33 years; however,
> Air Force Space Command people are not leaving anything to chance.
> AFSPC and other national agencies have been diligently working on a host
> of plans and operations that will ensure critical communication,
> navigation and surveillance systems stay operational.
> This year marks what is likely to be the last in the 33-year cycle of the
> comet Tempel-Tuttle that produces what is commonly known as the Leonid
> meteor shower. The height of the Leonid meteor shower will be the evening
> of Nov. 17 in most of North America.
> Tempel-Tuttle has been orbiting the sun opposite the Earth for nearly
> 2,500 years, but only poses a potential threat to the Earth three years
> out of each 33-year cycle said Lt. Col. Don Jewell, AFSPC's deputy chief
> The comet travels 43 to 45 miles per second, relative to Earth's orbit,
> leaving a huge trail of dust through which the earth travels when their
> paths cross. The Temple-Tuttle is one of the fastest comets known to man.
> The increased speed makes the comet's particles more dangerous to space
> satellites. The debris trail of the comet contains particles from 0.04 to
> 0.40 of an inch in size.
> Radiation hardening gives military satellites greater protection than
> civilian satellites from the flying debris. Although the comet does
> contain particles up to 0.40 of an inch in size, the chances of one of
> those hitting a satellite are very small, said Jewell.
> "If one of those hit a satellite, it would be like a bullet hitting a
> satellite and certainly it would damage it," said Jewell. "We don't
> anticipate that happening, but we have to plan for it."
> And planning is exactly what's been going on since last year's Leonid
> "This year we are focusing on refining the Leonid plan that was developed
> last year," said Lt. Col. Doug Hine, 14th Air Force's chief, space
> operations branch. "We took lessons learned and ensured satellite and
> ground systems are prepared to weather the storm."
> The Leonid storm of 1966 was the last time the meteor shower impacted the
> nations' space assets. The potential harm was minimal though because
> America only had 50 or 60 satellites in orbit then, said Jewell.
> The real concern came 32 years later, in 1998, when the United States had
> several hundred military satellites in orbit, operating everything from
> early missile warning to the Global Positioning System.
> "Essentially, it was a non-event," said Jewell. Three civilian satellites
> were damaged, but all military space assets were left unharmed.
> There is not expected to be any damage to military satellites this year
> either, said Jewell, but the Air Force is prepared for the worst.
> The Air Force began planning for the 1998 Leonid storm a full year in
> advance. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were allocated for Leonid
> preparation, but the money ran out and the analysis of the data could not
> be completed, said Hine.
> This year, the Air Force and other sister agencies are poised to spend $2
> million to proactively protect U.S. space assets, said Hine.
> Special electro-optical video equipment will be set up at sites in Hawaii,
> Florida, the Canary Islands, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and
> at two sites in the Negev Desert, Israel, to record the storm as it
> develops. The video signals go to the Marshall Space Flight Center in
> Huntsville, Ala. The center will give real-time storm warnings when
> The Air Force will also monitor the storm 24-hours a day Nov. 16 through
> 18 through mobile multi-frequency high-frequency radar deployed in Canada.
> Additionally, aircraft are being deployed Nov. 16 to perform high-altitude
> observation and collect data on the Leonid storm.
> "We don't want to downplay this. We plan for the worst and hope for the
> best," said Hine. "Air Force Space Command has experienced and
> well-trained crews who are prepared and ready to respond to any problems
> that may surface during the storm."
> The good news is, when Nov. 17th is over, so are the short-term Leonid
> worries. "We won't have any problems with it again for about another 30
> years," said Jewell.
> So what's the advice for people Nov. 17? Sit back and enjoy because "it
> ought to be a beautiful show," said Jewell.
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