18 Nov 2001
The Meteor Shower
Three o’clock this morning the alarm clock went off and by three fifteen I was out in the front yard trying to spot the constellation Leo. I spent most of my life at much higher latitudes and was shocked to find it directly east on a perfectly clear night at 55 degrees. Then I saw my first meteor. It was about as bright as the rest of the stars as it shot through the Big Dipper. As my eyes adjusted to the dark I found that seldom did ten seconds go by without seeing a streak and occasionally three per second. Most of them appeared to start at Leo and trace away from it and trace they did. Most would draw a silver mark through the sky about half a hand span long, and the mark would last from about a half second to an astounding two minutes for the brightest. The brightest was easily ten times as bright as the brightest star and the average was as bright as the average star. The impression I had was that they would start in the middle of the reverse question mark head of Leo but they were all over. Most seemed to start about fourty-five degrees all around Leo. So was it worth it? Everyone should see a good meteor shower at least once in their lives. Although I’m fiftyish, this was my first and it was well worth the trouble.