Friday, November 20, 2009

Leonid Meteor Shower

18th November ~ 3am on a cold Wednesday night, I eagerly went down to a park nearby. The park was quite brightly lighted & I wished for a darker place, but it will have to do. On the other hand, the sky was quite clear of clouds. Am I crazy or what? No, there was a reason for my crazy behaviors. First off, I'd a bodyguard with me & secondly, I'm sexcited with anticipation. I'm watching for the Leonid Meteor Shower.
Info about Leonid Meteor Shower: Link 1, Link 2.

Since young, I have a fascination of watching the sky, especially at night. I love star gazing! When in primary school, most children opts for Zoology Club as an ECA(Extra Curriculum Activity). Me & a very few others joined the Astronomy Club. This interest of sky gazing have stay with me till today. However, I am no hobbyist astronomer. I can name a few stars, planets & constellations. That's all to my knowledge of the sky. Anything with too much scientific or technological details, my mind will freeze & eyes graze over. I'd seen the Milky Way at Tioman & that magnificent sight overwhelmed me so much so that I am scare of it even! Without much profound knowledge, I'm just a little hamster who love to watch the sky. =P

In a bright city, it's not easy to see shooting star, but I'd managed to see a few colorful ones. My first encounter with meteor shower was also the Leonid Meteor Shower. It was in 1999, a little young schoolgirl with a few friends went to East Coast Park to watch the night show. That night, I counted 13 hairline streaks. When I saw on the news a few days ago that Leonid Meteor Shower will be visiting Earth again, I was pretty sexcited about it. That's why I was up on a cold morning at 3am, in a park clanking my head looking up at the night sky. In spite of being in a place much brighter than my first encounter with Leonid Meteor Shower, it was actually a more spectacular experience.
I counted 7, much less than my first time, BUT they were fantastic! From my first experience, I expected only hairline streaks. This time, what I saw wasn't anything I'm expecting! At 3.30am, when I sighted the first one, it was like a thick long blueish-green laser beam flashing across the sky! I wasn't expecting that! OMG! It was so UNBELIEVABLE! I was so shocked that I screamed so loud I might had frighten all the frogs, toads & crickets in the field! LOL! xD

My little point-and-shoot camera is not up to the task of photographing shooting star, hence the following image used was taken by Alan Holmes of Santa Barbara Instrument Group.

Leonid Meteor Shower Fire in the sky

What an awesome experience it was, watching the display given by Leonid Meteor Shower. I love shooting star & hope to see more of them. Oh... I always make a wish whenever I saw one & hope all my wishes come true. =P
Here for the record, shooting stars I had sighted so far:
1999 ~ Leonid Meteor Shower @East Coast Park. Counted 13 hairline streaks.
2004 ~ Green shooting star sighted at Pasir Ris Park traveling towards the North.
2006 ~ Slow moving orange fireball sighted at Bedok North Ave. 4, Blk. 85 hawker centre.
2008 ~ Blue shooting star sighted at Circuit Road hawker centre.
2009, 18 Nov ~ Leonid Meteor Shower @brightly lighted park near MacPherson. Counted 7 big bright ones.


At Friday, November 20, 2009 4:51:00 PM, Anonymous BLue said...

Aww, I missed it :(

At Saturday, November 21, 2009 9:30:00 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

Hey I've had a long interest in the night sky too Nikita. I was dead keen on it for quite a while and used to attend the local astronomy society. Unfortunately I'm a bit out of touch with things lately and I'm afraid I missed this shower. But I usually remember the Perseid shower peaking around August 12th, which often gives some excellent displays. I'm sure you must have watched that one before - though I think it won't help that you're right down by the equator.

I've probably never seen the Milky Way as clearly as you did at Tioman, but one time I got a look though somebody's large telescope and saw the Ring Nebula M57 in Lyra. It was like a little orange doughnut floating in the sky, and I've always remembered that breathtaking sight. Have you ever had a go with a good-sized telescope? If not, you really should get friendly with some local amateur astronomer, and maybe they'll let you take a peek! Don't scream too loudly this time though, they probably wouldn't be used to that! You sound like quite a noisy star-gazer, and the frogs and toads would not be very appreciative of it either. "Who's that silly girl making all that racket? I can hardly hear myself croak!"

I also like watching for satellites passing over, and one time I saw a few dozen in just an hour. There are loads up there, and I'm sure you've seen plenty. Bet you saw some during the shower in fact. As for the actual meteors, it sounds like you saw some really good ones - especially the colourful ones. I wonder if any of them made a sound. Sometimes I've heard a faint whooshing noise. Anyway, good for you, making the effort to go out in the early hours. A good shower is definitely worth losing a little sleep over huh?

Hey, last entry you were SkyHamster, this time you're SpaceHamster. Where will it end? You'll have to have a break from all this sexcitement soon, or you'll be exhausted!

At Monday, November 23, 2009 8:46:00 PM, Blogger John said...

Hi Nikita. I remember seeing the Leonids in the Lake district in the UK. I was camped up by a tarn and it was a beautiful moon dark night. Everything was so still, you could hear the sound of tiny streams running down the mountainside, even though they were a hundred yards away. I lay on my back and just watched the sky. It was fireworks..well almost. I must have counted upwards of twenty before I fell asleep. It was one of my nicest memories of fell-walking. Unfortunately most of the meteorites I recall weren't as spectacular as those you describe. However,I still remember this experience years on. It somehow makes you feel very small. Sadly this year, the peak "strand" of comet debris wasn't passing over Europe until quite near dawn so the sky was a bit too bright. However, next time maybe. Glad you saw them it's a lovely experience.

Best wishes John (arc475 on flickr)


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