I went out this past Sunday morning to view the Leonids at the Fred Lossing Observatory (FLO) near Almonte to check out the 18” dob and then get comfortable in my winter sleeping bag for a predawn meteor watch. It was cold (-17C or +1F) so there is something to be said about having access to an observatory plus warm room, and not having to setup my own scope. Another RASC member, Dan, treated me to a very nice view of M42/43 with a closeup on the Trapezium among a few other sky objects. A near Leonid fireball of mag -3 was seen shooting high in the south, leaving a train persisting for several seconds! I was excited to find out what I would see once I settled down for a formal watch. Dan remarked that he had seen a few possible Leonids as well.
In the two hours that I watched until dawn, I saw 22 meteors (11 Leonids, 3 North Taurids, one Alpha Monocerotid and 7 sporadics).
It was off to a good start! Almost right away into my “formal” watch, I saw the brightest meteor of the night! It was a fabulous -4 Leonid fireball out of the radiant! It was blue-green with a terminal flash and left a train that remained visible for 50 seconds! This event brought back flashbacks of the amazing 2001 Leonid storm. Two minutes later, a pair of long North Taurids went by one after the other, including a nice 30 degrees long mag 0 NTA! Then, just one minute later, a blue-green -3 Leonid shot high near the zenith, leaving a 40 seconds persistent train!
After this initial excitement, the meteors settled down to a more evenly distributed rate, with a few lulls of inactivity. The Leonids did not appear to be more active as the radiant climbed. In fact, the rates were fairly low but included some bright meteors. My thick winter sleeping bag created a slight field obstruction. Near the end of the night, a bright -2 sporadic shot horizontally 40 degrees low in the east, a near earthgrazer.
It was a nice but frigid night for this time of the year.
November 17/18 2018, 08:48-10:50 UT (03:48-05:50 EDT)
Location: Almonte, Ontario, Canada
(Long: 76° 15’ 50″ W; Lat: 45° 15′ 2″ N)
Northern Taurids (NTA) – 04:22 (065) +25
Southern Taurids (STA) – 04:31 (068) +18
November Orionids (NOO) – 05:20 (080) +16
alpha Monocerotids (AMO) – 07:47 (117) +01
Leonids (LEO) – 10:19 (155) +21
08:48-09:48 UT (03:48-04:48 EST); 3/5 trans; F 1.11; LM 6.10; facing S55 deg; teff 1.00 hr
LEO: six: -4; -3; +2(2); +4; +5
NTA: three: 0; +3; +4
Sporadics: three: +2(2); +4
Total meteors: Twelve
09:48-10:50 UT (04:48-05:50 EST); 3/5 trans; F 1.11; LM 6.10; facing S55 deg; teff 1.03 hr
LEO: five: -1; 0; +1; +2; +3
AMO: one: +4
Sporadics: four: -2; +3; +4; +5
Total meteors: Ten