(meteorobs) SoCal Leonid Report

Wayne and meteorobs members,

       First, the shower is still going on producing higher rates of 
meteors than non-shower days, so it isn't over yet. I got out for half 
an hour after seeing a +4 meteor from inside. Saw three Leonids, one 
Tuarus and two sporatics, all less than +2 magnitudes from about 03:15 
to 03:45 local time for the night of 18/19 November.

       Wayne, as for your question of shower rates, I wish the rate 
had been 180 meteors an hour! But like most shower nights, up to three 
meteors may be seen in any given minute that exceeds the average 
hourly rate several times, that was what I was speaking about. I 
didn't count but the hourly rate must have been more like 30 to 40 in 
the best hours, a usual shower rate. It wasn't very great here in the 
Western US but I did have 8 of 9 hours clear skies for the three 
nights, much, much better than I expected in the days leading up to 
the shower date.

       The great meteor storm seen in Europe and the mid-east reminded 
me of an old problem us recreational gold miners can have and it is 
the effect an exceptional great day of recovery or a large 4 ounce 
nugget can have on the miner, who may never be content again with 
ordinary recovery or just small nuggets that were just fine before his 
"good" fortune.  This attitude can make the miner leave mining in 
frustration. Well, my 4 oz nugget was 16 Nov.'98 with the night of 
Leonid fireballs, Asaf and others had their great day of recovery the 
other night with a fantastic meteor storm. We may be in for 
exceptional Leonids for the next coulple of years to feed the desire 
for great storms, but the best idea is to thank your lucky stars if 
you experianced an exception event and learn to be content again with 
ordinary meteor counts. 

                                  Dave English

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