Some folks wonder why the meteor shower
wasn't called the Tempel-Tuttle meteor shower, named after the comet
that spawned the debris
that burned up before our wonderous
eyes. In the ancient days
, the meteor showers would always appear to come from a particular area of the sky, in this case the constellation
Leo the Lion. Since this happened yearly, they figured that Leo
was throwing some of the stars down to earth, a sort of cosmic sprucing-up by the friendly lion. The name Leonid (from Leo) stuck with the meteor shower, even though we now know the source of the yearly sky show
of sand and pebbles.
The show this year was very spectacular, and my daughter finally stayed up late enough to see the meteor storm (upgraded from a shower). The trails were beautiful streamers of green, yellow and red. Alas, we didn't see a boloid, or a meteor big enough to look like it may reach the surface (typically about the size of a softball).
During meteor showers, some amateur radio operators get on the air and attempt to talk to each other on meteor skip, since the trails are ionized and reflect radio waves.
19 November 2002
Well, we stayed up again to see them this year, since it's supposed to be the last good shower for 97 years. My oldest daughter woke me up at 5:30am, and we watched the two-to-three per hour shower. They were not as impressive as last year, but it was still a decent show.