Observing Notes

from the Tuckahoe Irregulars

Leonids from Skyline Drive (VA), Nov 18 2001...Bob Bunge
Peaked at about 1400 per hour from Thorofare Mtn Overlook (3,600 feet) on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park (about 90 miles west, southwest from Washington, DC) around 4:30 EST. Clouds/fog about 1000 feet below did a good job of blocking the light pollution from below, perhaps adding a quarter to half limiting magnitude to the skies.
Long and bright, short and bright, dim and short, exploding flashers, point source flashers, long ones that changed brightness as they skipped along, it was quite the show. Beat the 1998 show by quite a bit, if not because it lasted for four+ hours instead of the 45 minute tease we got in '98. Still not 100,000 per hour, though :-)
The overlook was gridelocked with cars by 4:30. By 5:30, cars were parked on both sides of Skyline drive and perhaps 500 people were at the overlook. Even as twilight overtook the sky, you could see bright meteors flashing across the western sky. Many stayed to watch sunrise over solid clouds as far as the eye could see.
Bob Bunge
Bowie, MD

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