|Wednesday||19 November 2003||1:49pm MST||2003-11-19 UTC 2049|
Leonids 0 Sun 1: No one expected the sky to be awash in Leonid meteors this year, but, from all the lead-up hoopla, neither would one have expected the showers to be a "wash." SpaceWeather.com today reported:
LEODUDS: Sky watchers in Hawaii, Florida, Texas and parts of South America say they saw only a few Leonid meteors this morning. Perhaps Earth missed the anticipated comet debris trail. Or we hit it and the meteors were simply too faint to make an impression.
A check of meteor radio-observing sites seems to indicate more interesting preliminary results, especially from the western Pacific.
And keep looking up. SpaceWeather.com also says, "Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras . . . after nightfall on Nov. 19th or 20th" due to a solar storm headed toward Earth.
DCT update: Corning has a news release from yesterday reporting that it has been selected to provide 4.4m and 1.4m glass blanks for the primary and secondary mirrors of the recently announced Lowell Observatory Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) to be built southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Robert Fried: Lowell Observatory will be the site for services for Robert Fried, a retired airline pilot and semi-professional astronomer. He and his wife three years ago donated their Braeside Observatory, west of Flagstaff and valued at "nearly a million dollars," to Arizona State University in Tempe, from where students have remote access. Fried was a volunteer medical transportation pilot and died last Thursday at age 72 in a crash near Prescott while flying alone en route. See reports at the Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun today and Prescott Newspapers today, as well as a Braeside Observatory history and a news release from August 2000. Update: See Sky & Telescope's November 21st article.
The Wednesday Daily Orbit Update MPEC carries 2003 WG observations from San Marcello Pistoiese and Bedoin observatories from last night in Europe, and Hobbs Observatory in Wisconsin caught it this morning. Today JPL cut its impact solution count from 16 to 12 while slightly raising its overall risk ratings for 2003 WG.
For those new to impact risk monitoring, everything here is normal activity, part of a night-and-day cycle of observation and analysis that detects and usually soon removes risk possibilities. An "impact solution," also known as a "virtual impactor," is not a prediction but rather a zone of possibility that hasn't yet been eliminated. To learn more about risk monitoring, see "Understanding Risk Pages" by Jon Giorgini of JPL, and many other links related to this subject.
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