What meteor shower was so big in the winter of 1999?
I want to say fall/winter 1999 or very very early 2000. I can’t remember. I just know it was crazy. I viewed it from Mississippi. And remember them falling like almost every other second for about 30 minutes. Does anyone have any memory of something like this?
- StarryskyLv 78 months ago
Leonids shower, saw it 1999 and 2000. But those were meager.
In 1966, I was on roof of my college science center all night of Nov 16-17 with one other. Not much action until 2 AM. Just a few dozen faint ones that I charted location, time and direction (east to west).
At 3, I attempted to keep a 5 minute count. Got to over 80. Then I did a one minute count. Coming too fast to be accurate, but was more than 200.
At 4, the sky fell on us. Thousands came at 10 at a time, sometimes more. Continued for about 45 minutes. Then it slacked a little to about 1 a second, still 3600 an hour rate.
At 5:15, the eastern sky and western horizon was getting lighter. I said to Phil, "What happened? They are gone!" He did not see anymore either. It was like turning off a switch.
I think we saw between 35,000 and 50,000 in three hours. That was from a town of 40,000 with streetlights. People in Arizona observatories saw more.
Even the 1966 experience pales in comparison to the 1833 shower. People ran in panic. In 1866, another great shower might have occurred. but was mostly cloudy that night in Northern Hemisphere, so there're few reports of a meteor shower. The years of early 1900s did not have exceptional showers from Leonids.
There was an article in Scientific American or Sky & Telescope, I forget where. It showed the stream of particles from a comet that run into Earth every year on the Nov 16 date. The heavy part of the stream was less than 1/133rd part of the circumference of the orbit around the sun. And it was moving at right angles with respect to the plane of Earth's orbit. So it is not considered to intersect with Earth very much after 2001. Great showers from the Leonids are not expected again.Source(s): 65 years of reading about Astronomy, building telescopes for 60 years, a decade working in major city planetariums, mechanical and optical engineer for photometers and lasers, special effects designer, college computer classes instructor
- daniel gLv 78 months ago
The Leonids peak near the end of the year.
- CliveLv 78 months ago
At that time of year, most likely the Leonids, which peak in November.
They get most spectacular every 33 years because they consist of debris from the comet Tempel-Tuttle, which has an orbital period of 33 years. As with all meteor showers, we get them when the Earth passes through or close to the parent comet's orbit, so it hits the dust the comet leaves behind. This comet's orbit also gets closer to the Earth's orbit than many others so the shower we get every November is better, and it will be better still when the comet is nearest us - then it's closer to the Sun and more dust is blowing off it.
The last time it got closest to the Sun was in early 1998, so you would have got a really good meteor storm in mid-November 1999.
So the Leonids are always a shower worth looking out for and luckily you saw them in a really good year. Make a date in your diary for 2031! Or 2032.
- abdulLv 78 months ago
Leonid, the same one that is peaking tonight.
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- BobLv 78 months ago
I SAW THAT ONE!!! it was AMAZING!!! they were everywhere, sometimes 2 at once. I also saw a huge one that night that lit up the entire sky and heard it several seconds later. I was in a very dark area near the smokies and froze my *** off all night until the sun was up. it got better and better when it got close to dawn, yes, it was the Leonids.
- skeptikLv 78 months ago
It was probably the Leonids - the same shower that's going on right now.
The shower that year is typically categorized as a "meteor storm."
The Geminids four weeks later were pretty spectacular, too.
- Barkley HoundLv 78 months ago
Leonid meteor shower