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Welcome to the "2001
Leonid Meteor Shower and Storm" gallery of astrophotographs.com!
The photographs below are my among most
recent efforts. Included here are photographs from the 2001 Leonid
meteor shower and storm as seen from South Park, Colorado.
The 2001 Leonid meteor
shower and storm images were taken on the morning of November
18, 2001. We awoke in Conifer, Colorado (our home at approximately
8000 feet above sea level) about midnight to partly cloudy skies,
so we (wife Cheryl, myself and neighbor Bob Webers) drove southwest
to South Park, CO, located at 10,000 feet above sea level and
featuring wide open and windy 360-degree views. There exists much
less light pollution from Denver as well. We set up two cameras,
one (a Pentax Spotmatic equipped with a 28mm lens at f/3.5 using
Fuji Professional Press P-800 color negative film pushed 1 stop)
piggyback on a clock-driven Celestron C-8, and one (a Pentax Spotmatic
fitted with a 17mm fisheye lens at f/4 using Fuji Professional
Press P-1600 color negative film) on a standard tripod. Exposures
were 2 minutes. Observing started about 01:30 A.M. MST (08:30
UT) and ended about 05:30 MST (12:30 UT).
From the beginning
we became immediately aware that it was to be a special morning.
In the first hour we observed at least one meteor every 15-30
seconds. At the maximum we saw an astounding 50 meteors per minute,
almost one per second. Most were 2nd to 4th magnitude (the brightness
of the stars in the Big / Little Dippers), but some were very
bright bolides (much brighter than Jupiter!) leaving dust trails
for sometimes well over 2 minutes. This maximum lasted only about
20 minutes, from about 03:10 to 03:30 A.M. MST (10:10 to 10:30
UT). These times correspond very favorably to the models presented
in the November, 2001 issue of Sky and Telescope and Astronomy
magazines. Our observed maximum and times were very close to the
predictions of Esko Lyytinen and Tom Van Flandern of Meta Research
in Washington, D.C.
Up to and after the
maximum display there were still plenty of meteors (perhaps one
every 5-30 seconds). Some of the brightest ones seemed to "explode"
right on the horizon. As my back was turned, I thought that one
of them was an approaching car's lights! Most of the brightest
meteors were green. It was an amazing and wonderful morning of
To further explore the "Something
New" section of astrophotographs.com please use the various
navigation strategies below the photographs.
In the photographs the dark round object is the front of the telescope
tube the camera was mounted on, In the final photograph the "roundness"
and distortion is due to the use of a 17mm fisheye lens.
Click a photo below
for a larger view and detailed information about how, when and
where it was taken.
The Leonid meteor shower astrophotography is available
via telephone ordering as noted below.