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12 Rabbit Valley Road / P.O. Box 1515
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303-903-8996 or 575-758-3670
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"Under the Night Sky,"
the astrophotographs.com newsletter!
Willis Greiner's astrophotographs.com
"Under the Night Sky"
Welcome to the 6th edition of astrophotographs.com newsletter! I've
been very remiss in not attending to the newsletter recently, and
I apologize for that.
Earlier this summer Cheryl and I traveled to Zimbabwe in southern
Africa with Astronomy Magazine to observe the Total Solar
Eclipse and to perhaps see a few animals. We were so very fortunate
to not only visit and stay at no less than 5 wilderness safari camps,
but also to view the magnificence of yet another Total Solar Eclipse
(it was my 4th!) -- this time on a remote airstrip adjacent to a
small rural village in northern Zimbabwe. Rather than pontificate
here on all this, I've included links below to the brand-new willisgreinerphoto.com
web site (featuring all of my "other" photography such as the wildlife,
landscape and underwater varieties). Further, this site has a sprinkling
of the astrophotography and Photofantasia, and includes links to
those stand-alone web sites. Please visit the site and note especially
the African galleries -- that's where the Solar Eclipse photos,
African wildlife and landscape photos and, of course, the Zimbabwe
narratives can be found. We had a marvelous time -- a link to the
company who put it all together is included at the end of this newsletter.
Late in the summer my friends and I participated in our annual "Graybeards
Float Trip," this time on the wonderful Salmon River cutting through
the venerable "River of No Return Wilderness" in central Idaho.
My river guide friend Gary and I have been "sponsoring" this event
for quite a few years. We had previously chosen the slightly less
demanding Green River in Utah, but this year chose the Salmon. He
and I have floated it a dozen times. During this float the tragedy
of September 11th occurred. We learned about it from one of the
few ranches along the river; obviously, they had generated electricity
and were able to access a CNN feed. After learning of the events
it was a challenge to "run" the whitewater (which does require some
concentration and ability to accept the task at hand) -- that afternoon
we camped at what is likely my favorite place on the planet, affectionately
named "The Center of the Universe" camp. Perhaps we gained some
balance and perspective that evening when we viewed though the portable
ETX-90 the great nebulae in Sagittarius -- I noted that these were
places where the birth of stars and planets was occurring. Of course,
the rest of the float was quiet and sobering.
learning of the events it was a challenge to "run" the whitewater
(which does require some concentration and ability to accept
the task at hand) -- that afternoon we camped at what is likely
my favorite place on the planet, affectionately named "The Center
of the Universe" camp. Perhaps we gained some balance and perspective
that evening when we viewed though the portable ETX-90 the great
nebulae in Sagittarius -- I noted that these were places where
the birth of stars and planets was occurring.
As to current events,
I would implore all of you to get outside in the early dawn hours
of November 18th and observe the Leonid meteor shower. Normally
this display is typified by 20 or so meteor bursts per hour, often
bright objects possessing a beautiful yellow color. Every once in
a while, though, the Earth passes through much more cometary debris
(this motion defines the yearly meteor showers that the Earth witnesses)
-- and this year could be absolutely spectacular. In Sky and
Telescope's examination of this year's events, the following
information was ascertained:
"If predictions by the world's top meteor experts hold up, early
on the morning of November 18th skywatchers in North America can
expect to see their most dramatic meteor shower in 35 years. These
meteors, called Leonids because they appear to radiate from the
constellation Leo (the Lion), will signal the collision of Earth
with streams of fast-moving dust particles shed by Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
In the November 2001 Sky & Telescope meteorologist Joe
Rao assesses the predictions provided by three teams of specialists.
Rao concludes that two episodes of meteor storms appear likely.
A burst lasting perhaps two hours is expected in the predawn hours
of November 18th for observers throughout most of North and Central
America. An even bigger storm arrives 8 hours later for viewers
rimming the far-western Pacific Ocean. Because these locations are
on the other side of the International Date Line, this peak occurs
before dawn on November 19th. Several thousand meteors may streak
across the sky for an hour or so starting at 3:30 or 4:30 a.m. in
eastern Australia (depending on location); 2:30 a.m. in Japan; and
1:30 a.m. in western Australia, the Philippines, and eastern China."
(from Sky and Telescope's web site / 11-3-01)
Concluding, for observers in the Mountain Time Zone, looking skyward
between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. on the morning of November 18, 2001 would
be optimum. Rao predicts the possibility of a rate of thousands
of meteors per hour during that short time. Early evening viewing
times will yield disappointing results for reasons of planetary
physics. The Earth is turned away from its moving leading edge during
the evening hours. Think of it as like attempting to drive a car
by looking out the back window. During early morning hours, however,
the Earth is "pushing into" its orbit.
In Asia (and the next day, per the article) the rate could reach
the tens of thousands. Astounding.
To learn more, Google Leonid Meteor Storm.
I'll conclude now. Thanks for your e-mails and comments.
is the web address of my "traditional" photography.
is the specific starting point for the 2001 Zimbabwe Solar Eclipse
and safari pages and images.
Contact us at 303.903.9886
All images and
narratives copyright Willis Greiner, all rights reserved.
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