November   2001

ACT, Inc. has been meeting continuously since 1937 and was incorporated in 1986. It is a nonprofit; tax deductible organization dedicated to promoting, to the public, the art of viewing and the scientific aspect of astronomy.


The Astronomy Club of Tulsa Club

Annual Dinner Meeting


Thursday, November 8, 2001 at 6:00 PM


Furr's Cafeteria
E. 41st St and Garnett in the shopping center East of REASOR's
When you arrive, go through the serving line and meet us in the reserved conference room.

Notes from the President

John Land

The annual dinner meeting is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. Astronomy Club members and their families get together for a meal and fellowship. Bring the wife and kids. The procedure is to go through the line, make your selections, bring them to our meeting room. Then go pay your ticket. If you just want to come for the meeting come about 6:30 and just visit awhile. The cafeteria closes at 8:00 PM so we must be gone by 7:45 PM

We will eat, visit, elect officers and talk about our hopes of viewing the long awaited Leonid Meteor Storm Nov 17-18 and the Dec 14 partial Solar Eclipse.

Leonid Meteor Storm possible 2000 per hour for a short burst.

The scientists who do the mathematical modeling for this event have been pretty accurate the last two years. Many of you remember the grand display of bright meteors from the 97 and 98 showers. Last years shower was disappointing. This year one to the two expected peaks occurs at 2:00 AM on Sunday morning November 18 just as the radiant in Leo is rising. IF the predictions hold true we could be in for a grand show. We will be having an all night observing session at the Mounds Observatory. The moon is a thin waxing crescent and sets early in the evening. Club members and small groups of guests they bring with them are welcome. WE ARE NOT OPENING THIS UP TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ! ! We had a near disaster 3 years ago when a local TV station put us on their website and over 400 people showed up!!


Charity Public Star Party at Chandler Park

Sat Nov 10

6:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Rain date Sat Nov 17th

To get there take Hwy 75 to 21st Street, take 21st St. west for about 2.5 miles, you will see a huge "CHANDLER PARK" sign on the side of the hill going up to the park on your left.

Sponsored by Outback Guides, American Red Cross, Tulsa County Parks, and Chandler Park & Educational Council. It is being advertised on Tulsa radio & TV stations to benefit by donation the people in the World Trade Center disaster that did not have any insurance or any other means to support their families. Originally, it was to benefit NY Police & Firemen, but they have more than enough compensation.

Please put this info in the Tulsa Astronomy Club newsletter. Thanks, Rick Harris Oklahoma City Astronomy club

Note: The OKC Club does some public star parties through the Department of Tourism at some State Parks. One of their past Presidents, Steve Atkins, works for the Tourism Department. Anyway that's how this event came into being. This should give us some major exposure and also help a good cause. I realize the rain date is the Leonid shower but the public event will be over long before the expected peak of the shower. We did not schedule this.

We need to be SET up ready to Go no later than 5:15 PM Cloudy or not people will show up. Those of you with solar filters may want to bring them before sunset. Please contact Gerry Andries Phone or < Gerry Andries e-mail > to confirm your commitment to help


Dec. 7th -at TU campus - Space Artist - Robert Daniels

We have invited Robert Daniels, of Silverwings Studio in Oklahoma City to come demonstrate his Art of the Universe collection. At the meeting he will let us observe as he completes an actual painting envisioning an astronomy vista. Mr Daniels has done several art demonstrations for schools in the Oklahoma City area. We would like to invite artists, young or old, as well as space enthusiast to come enjoy this experience with us. Daniels will also have some of his collection available for sale. Prints sell from $20 to $40 and Original paintings start at about $120. You may find some great ideas for those special Christmas gifts for the astronomer. I had the pleasure of watching in amazement as he created his personal visions of the universe on canvas. You won't want to miss this one!

Win an Astronomy painting. Robert has graciously offered to donate the painting he does to the club. We will give out drawing tickets for donations of $2.00 each. The winning ticket will take home the painting created for us that evening!


Officer Candidates:

President: Denny Mishler - Denny has been active in our Tulsa club for about four years. Although he is new to Tulsa, Denny is not new to astronomy. He has been actively pursuing astronomy since the age of 10 when he received his first telescope. He continued to do astronomy in high school and college. An Engineering graduate, Denny has lived in several areas of the country. He was a member of the Baltimore Astronomical Society (the 3rd in the nation) where he helped organize their 100th year celebration. (By the way if our history is correct the Tulsa club will celebrate its 75th anniversary during 2002 !) Denny has also served as president of another club in Maryland. Since coming to Tulsa, Denny has helped to welcome new members and served as our vice president. Denny is a Lowe's Lumber store regional representative and has an opportunity to make contacts with other astronomy clubs in this region.

Vice President: Teresa Kincannon - Teresa has been a member for several years and brings a lot of enthusiasm to the club. She and her son Jason got "into" astronomy with both feet going out to see the comet fragments from Shoemaker-Levy 9 hitting Jupiter. They went interested in astronomy for some time before that  and went to the library to keep up with events, which fortunately brought her to us. Teresa is a middle school science teacher in Tulsa and brings a lot to energy from her "kids" to us. She has been our secretary for several years.

Secretary: Aaron Coyner - Aaron has been an active member of our club for about four years. As a high school student he organized the Astronomy Club at Broken Arrow High and started participating in activities with our Tulsa Club. As our club representative at TU he helps make sure we have our meeting room and equipment each month. His interest in astronomy stretches clear back to Comet Halley! in 1986. Even in those early years astronomy was his passion. Aaron is a Physic student at TU and currently working of a research project for a Space Shuttle "Get-Away Special" He was on our board last year and designed the nice Polo Style Astronomy Club Shirts and the excellent PR pamphlet for our club.

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

Assistant Treasurer - John Land

Nick Pottorf has been active in the Tulsa Club since the early 60's. Nick is the number one reason the Tulsa Club has been so successful and financially stable over the years. Nick has HAND-MADE many excellent telescopes, mirrors, and eyepieces over the years. He is a master craftsman of metal and glass and can put even the commercial manufacturers to shame. Anyone who has been in the club for a few years has probably benefited from Nick's advice, encouragement and gentle demeanor over the past four decades. Trained in Engineering, Nick became a Patent Lawyer for Standard Oil, which later became AMMACO and now BP AMMACO.

John Land - I will be assisting Nick with the treasurer duties and "learning the ropes" of all the tiny details it takes to keep the club memberships, subscriptions and accounts going smoothly. Nick was the first person I contacted about the astronomy club when I joined in 1977. I drove up from Okemah 70 miles each month just to get in on all the exciting things the club members could teach me. I had always been a Space Age enthusiast. As a child, my mother and I used to go out and watch THE (singular) Echo I satellite go over at night. About 2 AM in June of 1977 I "discovered" M-11 with a small 60mm refractor and Tom McDonough (then a high school student) introduced me to the fact that there were 109 more of these to be discovered. I was hopelessly addicted to starlight. I am a teacher at Broken Arrow SR High and have had the privilege of teaching astronomy and other science courses there for more than 20 years. I have served as Observing chairman, President, Mid- States Chairman and board member at various times over the years. I would like to thank all of you for your support over the last two years I served as president as we tried to get the club back on a firm foundation. I think this new group of officers will bring some fresh views and enthusiasm to the club.

Board Representatives.

Gerry Andries, Steve Chapman and Hugh Selman

Gerry has been our Observatory Chairman for several years and does an excellent job of scheduling all the groups and events that visit the observatory. He keeps the observatory grounds mowed and cleared of evening deposits from the local Bovine population. He is the virtuoso of the 16-inch telescope. No one else gave get the beast to lock onto and track the stars quite like Gerry can. He is an enthusiast of flying and especially Ultralight aircraft.

Steve has been active in the club for many years. A regular at observing nights and after hour's discussions at I-Hop pancake house, Steve is always willing to drive in from the Verdigris River Valley to help with observing groups and club events. His daughter Susan has also been a regular bringing her friends to search for the hidden treasurers in the dark skies. Steve works on the navigation systems for a Tulsa based Aeronautics Company.

Hugh is a retired electrical engineer who became interested in astronomy during the Hale-Bopp era. He spent many hours in the summer of 2000 helping make repairs to the observatory. He and his wife have become "starlight groupies" making the long trek to the Texas Star Party and Okie-Tex Star parties in their motor home. Hugh says he just wants to learn as much as possible about astronomy.


Club Business:

This is the time for our annual reports of club business.


You can also renew your subscription for Astronomy $29 and Sky & Telescope $30

Also time to order Canadian Observing Handbooks $15 -

Gerry is taking orders through Nov 8 for the Year in Space Weekly desk calendars. $9.00 for 52 pages of space shots and room to schedule all your events.  This year you must pay in advance. Nick or Gerry will have details.

NICK POTTORF is offering his 40+ year collection of Sky and Telescopes to interested club members. They will be bundled by year and you may purchase a whole year's worth by making a donation to the club. Think of all those wonderful discovers you read about in the history books. This is your chance to read about them and "SEE" them "LIVE" through the eyes of those who first discovered them. We have several left at $3.00 per year. Many of them are neatly boxed in sets.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES - If you want to write up a project you've done, a special observing interest, science topic - we'd love to see them included. Send us a few paragraphs or up to a page. If possible we'd like to have it sent e-mail. Be sure you've done your research well and grammar checking before you send it in. We would also like to have a few paragraphs relating a personal observing experience or a favorite sky lore story. If anyone would like to take on a Monthly article I'd like to see an Observing Challenges article featuring a constellation or type of objects and say a top ten targets for u to find this month. I've seen these in some other club letters and they make up a contest to see who can find them.


We have found that a door prize or two helps keep our audience around until the end of the program. If you have some good quality but extra astronomy pictures posters - eyepieces or other astronomy products you'd like to donate they would be greatly appreciated.



Gerry Andries can use help immediately with lawn care and weed control. Due to the extreme heat this summer our repair projects are still undone. We will be looking for help later this fall. If you have time and equipment contact Gerry.


The following is the current schedule of star parties and public groups. Tentatively scheduled dates are bracketed with question marks. All events are at the RMCC unless noted otherwise: Contact Gerry Andries 369 3320



11-02-01 Fri 05:00 TU Astronomy and Astrophysics w/ Aaron Coyner (40) 

11-03-01 Sat 05:00 Backup for 11/02 1

1-17-01 Sat 05:00 PM to Dawn Sunday 18th Leonid Meteor Storm 2000 Per hour ???? Peak somewhere for 2:00 to 04:00 AM Leo rises around 2:00 AM 

?11-19-01 Mon 04:45 Jenks HS Sci Fi Literature Class (30) ? 

?11-20-01 Tue 05:00 Backup for 11/19 ?



11-08-01 Thu 6:00 PM Holiday Dinner Meet (Furrs at 41st & Garnett) 

11-10-01 Sat 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM - will have TV and Radio spots Charity Benefit Star Party at Chandler Park 


12-07-01 Fri 07:30 Regular Meeting (at Keplinger Hall) 

12-14-01 Fri 03:00 Partial Solar Eclipse & Club Star Party and Geminid Meteor Shower


2002 Calendar of events

at TU
Jan 11 Jan 25
Feb 08 Feb 22
Mar 08 Mar 22
Apr 12 Apr 26
May 10 May 24


Led by K.C. Lobrecht who arrived at the beginning of the week long Astrofest known as "Okie-Tex" (located at the end of Oklahoma's Panhandle) a rather large contingent of ACT members and friends converged on the lonely outpost of Kenton, OK for a week of excellent weather and viewing. Chris Brown who teaches Astronomy at TCC brought his entourage of students and fans swelling the Tulsa contingent to perhaps 30 people. Hugh and Peggy Selman brought their beautiful motor home. Campers included Gary Buckmaster, Blake Chamlin, Rod and Jenny Gallager, John Land, James Liley, Howard Minor, Denny and Barb Mishler, Dean Salman, and Jay Tiner.

Okie-Tex may be the best Star Party I've attended. Stellafane in Springfield, Vermont is the grand daddy of Star parties and attracts 2000 fans. But it lasts only 2 nights and the skies are not comparable to the black skies of Oklahoma's Black Mesa territory. The Texas Star party is a good one but the skies aren't quite as good and it can get hot and dusty when it is held in May. Located 430 miles west of Tulsa with all the driving in Oklahoma, Okie-Tex gets my vote and if you stay for the final night you are quite likely to win a nice door prize too!

Denny Mishler, Club vice President




by David Stine

Where will you be on November 18, 2001 in the early morning hours? If you say probably home asleep, that is the wrong answer and you could be very sorry. So what happens on that morning you say? Possibly the greatest meteor storm that our lifetime has seen with the exception of 1966. If the forecasters are correct like they have been the past two years we may witness a meteor almost every second during the peak hour. More than a person could even try to see. They would be coming from all over the sky. Lets take a look at the storm forecast from several well known meteor experts, but first of all for you new to astronomy, let me brief you on this particular occurrence.

Each year at about the same time in November we have what is called, a meteor shower, or as some people call them falling stars. Meteors are not stars and it's a good thing they aren't or we would be in trouble. What you see as a streak across the heavens is merely a very small grain from the debris given off from a comets past passage. This particular comet is Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. This debris remains in roughly the same path that the comet takes around the sun. Now when this debris is past through by Earth, we have a meteor shower. This shower seems to have meteors streaking out of the constellation Leo and that is where its name comes from, Leonid Meteor Shower. Most of the time the shower is very weak, maybe 10 meteors an hour at its best, but then there are times every 30-35 years that the shower comes alive and it is called a meteor storm. We are now in that time period. The last two years have produced outstanding storms in other parts of the world. This year and 2002 it's our turn. Why such outstanding storms every third of a century? The answer lies in the return of the comet. Comet Tempel-Tuttle reached perihelion in February 1998. The thickest areas of its debris have since been flowing through the same area that Earth crosses each November 17-18. Astronomers have recently been able to calculate the locations in space of individual dust trails. According to these individuals we are in for two more good years of storms before the Leonids go into hibernation. Who are these forecasters and what are they saying about this year?

Robert McNaught and David Asher predicted the 1999 storm to within 6 minutes. Asher also was the one who determined the cause of the fireball year in 1998 that many of us witnessed at the observatory. These particles came from the 1333 passage and were pulled close together by several passes near the planet Jupiter creating a concentration of particles in the broader stream. So what does McNaught and Asher predict for us this year? Asher is predicting a peak time of 10:01UT November 18 which would be 4:01a.m.CST. Leo would be very high in the East for an ideal shower. So what is he predicting for numbers? 2,000-2,500 an hour during this peak time. The dust particles we will be seeing are from the comets 1766 return, plus particles from the 1799 and 1833 passage. If this were to happen you would be seeing a meteor just about every second. Now that would be awesome. They also predict another peak at 17:31UT the 1699 passage, then another one at 18:19UT the 1866 trail. Of course it will be daylight in Tulsa for this one and we won't be able to see it. Asher predicts 9,000/hr for the first one and 15,000/hr for the next one. Being so close together will make for an enormous storm for people in Eastern Asia and Australia.

Our other experts Esko Lyytinen and Tom Van Flandern also predict between 2,000 and 2, 500 meteors but 30 minutes later at 10:28UT. Both models are leading to a major storm for observers in Tulsa and most of North America. But don't bet on it! We still are not at the stage where we can predict how broad the stream is or how stretched out it is. But it looks like we could be seeing more meteors than we have ever seen in our short time on Earth. The only thing that could prevent us from seeing this spectacle is the weather.

Come join us at the observatory the night of November 17 and the morning of the 18th to watch this awesome display in the heavens. Plan on an all night session. Again nothing is certain, but the odds are heavily in our favor for a storm.

What about 2002? Well if you can believe it, we get the peak again next year and oh what a peak. Predictions are for 30,000/hr at 10:36UT. North America will be the only place on earth to view this show. The only problem is the moon will almost be full, but 30,000 meteors under a full moon, I don't think that will hamper our view. Who can see that many meteors at one time? That's appx. 8 meteors a second. You would have to have eyes in the back of your head.

The next two years are going to be awesome and we are lucky to be right in the ballpark for the event. It all starts in a few days. Don't miss it.

COMET UPDATE; Comet C/2000 WM1 (Linear) continues to slowly brighten. By the night of the Leonid Shower it should be around Mg. 6.6 traveling through Perseus near the star Algol. If there is room in the newsletter there will be a plat of the comets path through November 20th. It will be high overhead on the night of the Leonid Storm, a preview bonus for everyone before the fireworks start.

That's it from my corner this month; hope to see everyone at the observatory Nov. 17-18 for possibly the greatest meteor shower we have seen yet.


NAMN Notes: November 2001


NAMN Notes is a monthly newsletter produced by the North American Meteor Network, and is available both via email, and on the NAMN website at:

1. Leonids - Event of the Year!...

What is this shower? The Leonids are a sight of a lifetime when they storm, and they are predicted to storm in large numbers this year. These meteors are debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

i) The Parent Comet...

The comet was discovered on December 19th, 1865 by Ernst Wilhelm Liebrecht Tempel in Marseilles, France. Tempel was born in 1821 in Nieder-Kunersdorf, in Saxony. He trained as a lithographer, and took up astronomy as a side interest. When he moved to Venice, he purchased a 4 inch refractor, and started looking for comets from a balcony of a Venetian palace. He found his first in 1859, also the year in which he became the first observer to note the nebula around the star Merope in the Pleiades. In 1860, he moved to Marseilles, France, obtained employment at the observatory, and went on to discover 8 more comets, including the famous Tempel-Tuttle as we now know it. In 1871 he moved to Milan, Italy, taking a job as an assistant to Schiaparelli at the Brera Observatory. He discovered 3 more comets at Milan. In late 1874 he moved to Florence and the Arcetri Observatory, and using larger telescopes, found 1 more comet. In all, he was the first discoverer of 13 comets. Tempel died in 1889, and was buried near the tomb of Donati, whose name is also famous for comets.

Comet Tempel-Tuttle was also discovered by Horace Parnell Tuttle of Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA on January 6th, 1866. Tuttle was an assistant astronomer at the Harvard College Observatory. He discovered his first comet in 1857, which turned out to be periodic Comet Brorsen. In 1858 he made a first discovery of Comet 1858 I, now called periodic Comet Tuttle. He went on to a total of 4 comet discoveries, and 9 co-discoveries. The most famous of these comets are 1862 III Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteors, and 1866 I Tempel-Tuttle, the parent of the Leonid meteors. In 1862, Tuttle left Harvard, served in the infantry in the American Civil War, then transferred to the navy. He served on the U.S.S. Catskill, an iron-clad ship engaged in the blockade of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. By day he acted as paymaster... and by night he made observations of comets! After the navy, he worked with the U.S. Geological Survey, and helped define the boundary line between Wyoming and the Dakotas. Tuttle died in 1923 and was buried in an unmarked grave at the Oakwood Cemetery in Falls Church, Virginia.

ii) The Early Leonid Observations...

There are many old descriptions of the Leonid meteors, as they have been observed for over 1000 years, long before their cometary origin was known. In his book 'The Story of the Heavens' published in 1886, Sir Robert Ball wrote:

"On the 12th of October, in the year 902, occurred the death of a Moorish king, and in connection with this event an old chronicler relates how 'that night there were seen, as it were lances, an infinite number of stars, which scattered themselves like rain to right and left, and that year was called the Year of the Stars.'"

We now know, due to calendar allowances, that this referred to the Leonids, and is one of the first recorded instances of the shower.

November of 1833 sparked the current birth of meteor astronomy as we know it. A Leonid storm was widely observed in North America. Observations of the event led to Denison Olmsted's theorizing that the meteors had originated from a cloud of particles in space - and a specific radiant point for the meteors. Old records were looked at, and von Humboldt's observations of 1799 from South America discovered. The possibility of annual activity in November was realized. In 1837, Heinrich Olbers reported a period for the Leonids of about 33 or so years.

Hubert A. Newton examined many old records, and identified many years of Leonid activity. He predicted the next return 33 years later, in 1866, and a meteor storm occurred. Sir Robert Ball wrote:

"Such was the occurrence which astonished the world on the night between November 13th and 14th, 1866. The meteors were distinguished not only by their enormous multitude, but by their intrinsic magnificence. I shall never forget that night... I was engaged in my usual duty at that time of observing nebulae with Lord Rosse's great reflecting telescope... The late Earl of Rosse... joined me at the telescope, and, after a brief interval, we decided to cease our observations of the nebulae and ascend to the top of the wall of the great telescope... There, for the next two or three hours, we witnessed a spectacle which can never fade from my memory. The shooting stars gradually increased in number until sometimes several were seen at once... All of the tracks of the meteors radiated from Leo... Occasionally luminous trains would linger on for many minutes after the meteor had flashed across, but the great majority of the trains in this shower were evanescent. It would be impossible to say how many thousands of meteors were seen, each one of which was bright enough to have elicited a note of admiration on any ordinary night."

Giovanni Schiaparelli of Italy commented in a letter written in 1867 that Comet Tempel-Tuttle was probably related to the Leonid meteor stream. Camille Flammarion wrote that "for the swarm of shooting stars of November... Le Verrier has calculated that it entered for the first time into our system in the year 126 of our era, at a point near where the planet Uranus was then situated, and that it is this planet which has transformed the parabolic into an elliptic orbit. If the planet had not been there, the meteors would have continued their course".

iii) Observations This Century....

In 1933, no storm was observed.

In 1966, however, a brief storm was observed on November 17th over the central and western United States. Dennis Milon is quoted on regarding the observations from Kitt Peak, Arizona:

"The meteors were so intense that we were guessing how many could be seen in a one-second sweep of the observers head."

A peak rate of about 40 meteors per second was reached at 5.54 a.m. local time. This works out to 2400 meteors per minute, or 144,000 meteors per hour!

In 1998, a surprise shower of fireballs was seen. A summary can be found at, from a paper by Asher, Bailey and Emel'yanenko titled 'Resonant meteoroids from Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1333: the cause of the unexpected Leonid outburst in 1998''. This unexpected bombardment of fireballs happened about 16 hours before the predicted peak of the Leonid shower! It must be remembered that, in spite of all kinds of predictions by professional researchers, that we still do not know everything about meteors! This is why it is so important to watch on a number of nights - from wherever you happen to be around the globe.

In 1999, a storm of Leonid activity was observed from western Asia, Europe, and Africa, with ZHR rates of about 3700 meteors per hour. Details are given in the IMO analysis at The IMO states that the Leonid storm component had 'an unusual magnitude distribution with a lack of both very bright and very faint meteors'.

In 2000, rates were not as high. Three peaks were observed, but with ZHR rates only about 130, 290 and 480 meteors per hour respectively, as per the IMO analysis.

iv) Leading Up to Recent Analyses...

According to Gary Kronk on his "Comets and Meteor Showers" website:

"The most ambitious study of the relationship between Tempel-Tuttle and the Leonids was published in 1981. Donald K. Yeomans... mapped out the dust distribution surrounding Tempel-Tuttle by 'analyzing the associated Leonid meteor shower data over the 902-1969 interval'. He noted that most of the ejected dust lagged behind the comet and was outside its orbit... Yeomans suggested this indicated 'that radiation pressure and planetary perturbations, rather than ejection processes, control the dynamic evolution of the Leonid particles'. Concerning the occurrence of Leonid showers, Yeomans said 'significant Leonid meteor showers are possible roughly 2500 days before or after the parent comet reaches perihelion but only if the comet passes closer than 0.025 AU inside or 0.010 AU outside the Earth's orbit'. He added that optimum conditions will be present in 1998-1999, but that the lack of uniformity in the dust particle distribution still makes a prediction of the intensity of the event uncertain."

v) Predictions for This Year...

There are a number of models predicting the activity of the Leonid meteors this year. It will only be after the event has occurred that we will know which model best fits the activity seen! Hence it is really important for all observers to monitor the nights around November 17th and 18th and 19th - before the maximum, during the maximum, and after the maximum. Surprises can always occur. Consider the fireballs of 1998 - they arrived the night before anyone was expecting major Leonid activity!

According to the Armagh Observatory website - the predictions of Robert McNaught of Australia and David Asher of Armagh - the times of maximum Leonid activity and the estimated meteor rates are as follows, quoted from

Date Time ZHR rate Visible from

1. Nov. 18 10.01 UT 2,500/hr ? N. & Central America ie. debris shed by the comet in 1767, 7 'revolutions' ago in its trip around the sun

2. Nov. 18 17.31 UT 9,000/hr Australia & E. Asia ie. debris shed by the comet in 1699, 9 'revolutions' ago in its trip around the sun

3. Nov. 18 18.19 UT 15,000/hr W. Australia, E., SE & Central Asia ie. debris shed by the comet in 1866, 4 'revolutions' ago in its trip around the sun

(Peaks have been numbered 1, 2 & 3 for quick reference to other models mentioned below, for the same debris streams.)

The time is given in UT, Universal Time. This is the time in Greenwich, England - so count over the hours to get to your own time zone! For observers on Eastern Standard Time, it is 5 hours earlier - ie. for the above, using the 24 hour system: 05.01, 12.31 and 13.19, or in normal clock time: 5.01 am, 12.31 pm, and 1.19 pm. For observers on Pacific Time, it is 8 hours earlier - ie. for the above, using the 24 hour system: 02.01, 09.31 and 10.19, or in normal clock time: 2.01 am, 9.31 am, and 10.19 am. Time is tricky - so be careful. You can see from these times that North America only gets 1 peak at night.

Note that Australia and Asia are on the other side of the International Date Line - so the storming predicted over there actually happens in the pre-dawn hours of November 19th, not the 18th.

ZHR refers to the Zenithal Hourly Rate, the number of meteors that an observer would see, on the average, per hour, with the unaided eye, if they were out under a dark country sky, and if the radiant, the area in the sky where the meteors seem to come from, was directly overhead. We will be close to new moon for Leonids, so that is good. Get out to a dark site to increase your meteor rates! However, your latitude will affect how high the Leonid radiant will get in your sky - and that will affect your rates as well.

A diagram showing these 3 Leonid 'dust trails' is on the Armagh website at It is interesting to note that the dust trails for 1699 and 1866 will appear very close together for us from the earth's viewpoint - and it could be difficult to tell them apart! It is also noted on the site that smaller contributions of dust from the 10 revolution debris and the 11 revolution debris will add to meteors seen from the 9 revolution and 4 revolution debris! (It will be very interesting for those doing meteor photography or video to see if there is a noticeable difference in radiant position for these different overlapping dust trails, as seen from the earth!) And - the cumulative effect of all these meteor rates could be quite phenomenal.

Another Leonid model, that of Esko Lyytinen, Markku Nissinen and Tom Van Flandern, predicts, as quoted from

1. Nov. 18 10.28 UT 2,000/hr N. & Central America (7-rev)
2. Nov. 18 18.03 UT 2,600/hr W. Australia, E., SE & Central Asia (9-rev)
3. Nov. 18 18.20 UT 5,000/hr W. Australia, E., SE & Central Asia (4-rev) &
smaller peaks at:
Nov. 18 12.00 UT 110/hr (6-rev)
Nov. 18 14.10 UT 60/hr (5-rev)
Nov. 18 19.10 UT 150/hr (10 rev)
Nov. 18 19.10 UT 150/hr (11 rev)

Another Leonid model, that of Peter Jenniskens, predicts, as quoted from

1. Nov. 18 10.09 UT 4,200/hr N. America (7-rev)
2. Nov. 18 17.08 UT 1,800/hr Australia, E. Asia (9-rev)
3. Nov. 18 17.55 UT 2,700/hr Australia, E. Asia (4-rev) &
smaller peaks at:
Nov. 18 12.07 UT 40/hr Western USA/ Hawaii (6-rev)
Nov. 18 13.57 UT 14/hr Western USA/ Hawaii (5-rev)
Nov. 18 17.01 UT 170/hr Australia, E. Asia (10-rev)
Nov. 18 17.21 UT 510/hr Australia, E. Asia (11-rev)

Another Leonid model, that of Peter Brown and Bill Cooke, predicts, in the September 2001 issue of the "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society", as paraphrased by Gary Kronk at "that a 'broad and relatively strong' maximum will occur with a peak of possibly more than 1200 meteors per hour falling down between 10 and 12 UT. A much broader secondary maximum could occur around 17:30 UT with rates near 500 per hour."

Looking at the article by Bill Cooke on the Space Environments & Effects Program website at, you can see this graphically by looking near the end of the article at the diagram "Revised Brown/Cooke 2001 Forecast". This multi-color graph gives a line for each of the debris streams - 1633, 1666, 1699, 1733, 1766, 1799, 1833, 1866 - and a line showing the total predicted activity as a result of the earth passing through all of this debris combined.

Can you see Leonid meteors at other times besides those listed above? Of course you can! As quoted from the Armagh website:

"You can view the background of the Leonid meteor shower at other times, basically between your own local midnight (exact time being latitude dependent) and morning twilight; it's just that you'll miss the encounters of the Earth with meteors from these particular dust trails if you're not in the parts of the world on these maps."

The maps - of where to be on the earth to see meteor storming due to the dust trails - are at The total activity period for the Leonids is listed by the IMO, the International Meteor Organization, as November 14th to 21st. The dust trails are predicted to be seen at the specific times listed in the various models. We won't know whose model best matches the Leonid dust trail activity until after the meteors are seen! But the overall background Leonid meteor activity will be seen for a much longer period of time - before, during, and after the 'storming' due to the dust trails.

vi) Where Should You Go?...

Your priority as to where to observe Leonids from should be - first and foremost - a site where the skies will be clear! Many observers plan to travel - but all observations worldwide are valuable, as data is needed from as many different longitudes as possible to get complete global coverage.

vii) What Should You Record?...

What should you record? Check out our NAMN Observing Guide at If you need a set of star charts showing the constellations, sky coordinates, and the magnitudes of stars useful in judging the brightness of the meteors you see, print yourself off a set from

For a set of star charts to use in judging how good your perception is, and how good your sky is (your limiting magnitude, LM), print off a selection of charts from

For the storm components of the Leonids, plan now. Life will be fast and furious - and your normal observing methods may not work.

Check out Sirko Molau's meteor storm simulation. It can be downloaded from Give some thought now as to how you would deal with this. If you continue to record visually, you may have to estimate batches of meteors per time unit, and give up estimating magnitudes. You may decide to forego visual counting - and take timed photographs instead. You may decide to run a video camera. If recording by camera or video - be sure to accurately note your start and stop times - in order for your data to be useful scientifically.

For more information on meteor photography, check out

For more information on video recording, check out Keep in mind that only a handful of observers around the globe have the special 'intensified' video cameras that are talked about. However - due to the special nature of this year's Leonids - if you have a video camera of any kind, use it! All video coverage of this event, from as many observers around the globe as possible, will be useful. For more information, or questions concerning recording meteors by video, contact the IMO, International Meteor Organization, Video Commission Director, Sirko Molau, at

viii) Where in the Sky Should You Look?...

For the 'storm' components of the Leonids, we doubt that you will have a problem recognizing the Leonid meteors. However, in the quiet nights leading up to the maximum, and after the main weekend, you may need some info on where to look. A map showing the movement of the Leonid radiant over time can be found at

The Leonids (LEO) will have a general radiant at 153 degrees, ie. RA 10h 12m, Dec +22, which is about 2 degrees down to the right of the star zeta Leonis, the star called Adhafera, up in the 'sickle' of Leo. No matter where in the sky you see them, if you trace back the path of a Leonid meteor, it will seem to come from this area.

The radiant is an area, not just a point in the sky. In fact, with the earth intersecting several dust trails this year, there will be slight differences in radiant position. These may or may not be noticeable by a visual observer - but would show up in detailed photographic or video observations.

These are very fast meteors, with a velocity of about 71 km per second. Get comfortable in your lawnchair, and center your gaze about 50 degrees up in the sky. As these meteors are very fast, the fainter ones may be difficult to detect for beginning observers. If you concentrate on one direction in the sky, instead of moving all over, you will have a better chance of seeing more meteors, especially the fainter ones. And - a dark country sky is important!

ix) How to Stay Tuned to Leonids as They Happen...

How can you stay tuned to the shower activity as it happens around the globe? Watch our "Meteorobs" email list. It is the best source in town! If you are reading this newsletter, and are not yet on our email list, consider subscribing so that you too can hear the latest Leonid happenings! To subscribe, go to our Subscriber form at

We are interested in hearing all Leonid meteor reports! Drop an email either to the list or to our NAMN Coordinator at

2. A Leonid Checklist...

What do you need to observe the Leonids? The following is a basic checklist for those planning to observe this incredible meteor shower:

Warmth and comfort gear:
- a reclining lawnchair so you can lie back in comfort
- a foam mat to put on your lawnchair to insulate your back
- a heavy sleeping bag
- extra blankets
- a tarp to put over your sleeping bag to keep frost or dew off
- long underwear, then layers of warm clothing
- a warm coat
- warm wool socks
- take your boots off
- warm mittens or gloves, and extra mittens
- wool hat
- a scarf to wrap around your neck and face
- handwarmers
- cookies for a 3 a.m. snack
- thermos of tea or coffee

Recording tools:
- paper and pencil and meteor recording sheets
- spare pencils
- preferably, pocket tape recorder, with paper as a backup
- if recorder, spare tapes and spare warm batteries
- red flashlight
- and a spare red flashlight
- watch or clock set to UT, Universal Time
- star charts showing 'standard stars' to judge meteor magnitude
- star charts to estimate LM, limiting magnitude of sky

To take still photos of Leonids:
- a camera with bulb, ie time exposure, setting
- a normal or wide angle lens
- a tripod
- a cable release
- fast film, preferably ASA 400 or higher
- some method of keeping frost or dew off your lens
- a watch to time your photos (important)
- a notebook to record your exposure start and stop times

To take video of Leonids:
- a video camera with lots of spare battery packs
- a tripod
- a watch to time your video clips (important)
- if there is a time marker on your tape, set it properly ahead of time
- a notebook to record your exposure start and stop times

To see what the fainter Leonids look like near the radiant, or to look at Leonid meteor trains:
- a pair of binoculars

To help spread the word about meteors:
- bring your friends and family
- the Leonids could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

3. Other November Showers...

The Orionids (ORI), debris from Halley's Comet, although having reached a maximum on October 21st, can be seen until about November 7th. On November 5th, the radiant will be at 105 degrees, ie RA 7h 00m, Dec +17, which is about 5 degrees to the left of the star gamma Gemini, the star known as Alhena. These are fast meteors, with a velocity of about 66 km per second. ZHR rates will be low, far less than the 20 meteors per hour seen back at maximum in October. A map showing the movement of the Orionid radiant can be found at The Orionid radiant is the line labelled ORI.

The southern Taurids (STA) reach a maximum on November 5th, with a radiant at 052 degrees, ie RA 3h 28.2m, Dec +13, which is about a degree to the right of the star 5 Tauri on a star atlas. These are slow meteors, with a velocity of about 27 km per second. ZHR rates at maximum will be about 5 meteors per hour. They can be seen in lesser numbers until about November 25th.

The northern Taurids (NTA) reach a maximum on November 12th, with a radiant at 058 degrees, ie RA 3h 52.2m, Dec +22, which is about 2 degrees down to the left of the Pleiades star cluster. These are, like the southern Taurids, also fairly slow meteors, with a velocity of about 29 km per second. ZHR rates are also similar, with about 5 meteors per hour. These can also be seen until about November 25th. A map of the northern and southern Taurid radiants can be found in the IMO calendar for 2002, at

The alpha Monocerotids (AMO) are a special shower - and should be monitored. They have variable rates, and have been known to outburst in the past. They reach a maximum on November 21st, with a radiant at 117 degrees, ie RA 7h 48m, Dec +01, which is about 4 degrees down to the left of the bright star Procyon in Canis Minor. They are fast meteors, at about 65 km per second, and can be seen from about November 15th to 25th. A map showing the radiant can be found at

The chi Orionids (XOR), although not reaching a maximum until December 2nd, can be seen starting about November 26th. On November 30th, the radiant will be at 080 degrees, ie RA 5h 19.8m, Dec +23, which is about 1 degree north of the star 109 Tauri on a star atlas. These are fairly slow meteors, at about 28 km per second. Rates at the maximum on December 2nd will be about 3 meteors per hour, but in late November, fewer will be seen. For a map of the radiant positions, see the IMO calendar for 2000 at

The Phoenicids (PHO), although not reaching a maximum until December 6th, can be seen starting about November 28th. On November 30th, the radiant will be at 014 degrees, ie RA 0h 55.8m, Dec -52, which is about 34 degrees south of the star beta Cetus, known as Diphda, and will only be seen by more southerly observers. These are very slow meteors, at about 18 km per second. ZHR rates are variable, so can provide some surprises. The radiant, although very far south, can be seen on the map at

Lastly, the Monocerotids (MON), although not reaching a maximum until December 9th, can be seen starting about November 27th. On November 30th, the radiant will be at 091 degrees, RA 6h 4.2m, Dec +8, which is about 2 degrees to the left of the star Betelgeuse in Orion. These are average velocity meteors, at about 42 km per second. ZHR rates at maximum will be about 3 meteors per hour, and November rates less. A map of the radiant is at The Monocerotid radiant is the line labelled MON.

For extra reading on any of these showers, or to read about other minor showers not on the IMO "Working List of Visual Meteor Showers", check out Gary Kronk's "Comets and Meteor Showers" website at To see movie clips of sample comets and meteors, check out Kronk's 'Education Corner'.

Besides recognized showers, there is also sporadic meteor activity in November, about 7 meteors per hour, visible to the unaided eye. This activity is comprised partly of random meteor activity and partly of meteors that belong to long-ago, now untraceable showers.

Full moon this month is on Thursday November 1st - and is called the Hunter's Moon. Last quarter is on Thursday November 8th. New moon is on Thursday November 15th - just before the Leonids. First quarter is on Thursday November 22nd.

For use in judging the brightness of the meteors you see this month, the magnitudes of the planets are as follows (to the nearest half magnitude for most of the month):

Venus -4 in the morning sky Mercury -1 in the morning sky Jupiter -2.5 visible all night in Gemini Saturn -1 visible all night in Taurus Mars 0 in the evening sky in Capricornus

For more info on the moon and planets, check out, "Select" your location, and then check out the options. On Saturday November 3rd at 22h UT, Saturn will be 0.6 degrees south of the moon, with an occultation visible from Europe, the British Isles, NW Africa, the Arctic, Russia, and Japan. This website is also useful in determining the identity of satellites you will see while meteor observing!


Astronomy Club of Tulsa, 918.688.MARS

President: John Land

Vice President: Dennis Mishler

Secretary: Teresa Kincannon

Treasurer: Nick Pottorf

RMCC Observatory Manager: Gerry Andries

Observing Chairman: David Stine

Web Master: Tom McDonough

New Membership: Dennis Mishler