11/2006 Leonid Fireball Wows Stargazers! Print

Name

  Conor McDonald, Robert Cobain and Martin McKenna
Location
  Northern Ireland
Time and Date taken
  19th November 2006 0127ut
Equipment used
  Camera and tripod
Capturing device used
  Canon 350D digital SLR with 300mm lens
Technical details
  none

On Sunday 19th November at 01:27ut a meteroid burnt up over Ireland producing a spectacular fireball and smoke trail. Conor McDonald was there to witness the event along with a few others and captured 3 magnificent photos of the smoke train that lasted over 7 minutes after the meteor burnt up.

Leonid smoke train

Robert Cobain from Bangor also captured the fireball on his automatic meteor station and predicted a magnitude of -10.

Observing Report by Robert Cobain
This was captured last night (before the McNaught-Asher peak) at 1:27am, through the clouds! I estimate it to be at least as bright as a half moon, so about mag -10. Please note the image is distorted due to raindrops in front of the lens. I saw quite a few meteors in the early hours of the morning, I estimate that the ZHR was up to 50-60 for a time, and there were quite a few bright ones with persistant trails.

[image]

Click here to view the video and for those who have trouble with the video above, here is an mpeg encoded video.

Observing Report by Conor McDonald
Last night Martin, John, Jonathan and myself started observing at about 12:30am. We packed the bags with provisions and equipment and headed into the countryside under darker, clear skies. We found a good spot about 2 miles from Maghera and pulled up for the night. The activity was good and we saw some nice meteors. Jonathan pulled out the stove and we enjoyed lovely steak burgers with a warm cuppa.

As we were eating, a huge fireball came racing from Leo! It was bright blue then flashed and turned bright white, it stretched 45° long and was magnitude -7.5. Though the most amazing part was that there was a smoke train which lasted for 7minutes!!

Leonid smoke train

After we saw this, many roars and shouts could be heard all the way back to Maghera. I quickly grabbed my 300mm lens and started shooting this some train, you can see my shots below.

Smoke train dispersingin the high altitude winds

As the night went on so did the meteors, the activity was steady. We were all starting to feel the cold as the temp dropped to -2°C and the hard frost was affecting our cameras. We waited for the predicted outburst…but nothing! The activity more or less dropped at 4:45am. The outburst probably came earlier. The tally hasn’t been counted yet but I think it was around 150 meteors observed. We packed up at 6am and headed home after a cold but very, VERY exciting night.

Observing Report by Martin McKenna
What an incredible night. We observed from 01.00 - 06.30 UT and seen 226 meteors in total of which 181 were Leonids. It appears from our visual observations that the peak took place between 04.00 - 05.00 with short outbursts of activity.

At one stage we seen 8 Leonids in 10 seconds!!!!

We seen 3 bright fireballs and several border line objects. Of note was the mag - 10 fireball at 01.28 UT that slowly moved from Leo into Canis Minor with orange, silver and green colours which left a stunning smoke train for 7 mins. I caught the leading edge of this FB with its train...

 

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