Letter | Published:

Meteors

Abstract

HERE, November has generally been unpropitious for astronomical observations. However, during favourable intervals I have seen many brilliant meteors; from twenty to thirty on an average every night. They were principally seen with the face to the north, and glancing from shoulder to shoulder; but not a single Andromede did I see. I had the pleasure of seeing altogether about a score of Leonids before the 12th and after the 19th November. Leo Minorids and Arietids were plentiful, and a goodly number of Geminids were seen; but the richest field for meteors during the month was in the neighbourhood of the Plough. November 6, at 4.30 a.m., a large meteor passed from γ Ursæ Majoris right down to the horizon. From 4.35 to 5.15 three veritable Leonids proceeded from the Sickle; one dashed down to the right-hand, and another from the top of the Sickle to the left over the Lion's back. They were very large. November 10, at 8 p.m., a brilliant meteor started from a point nearly half way between Aldebaran and Saturn, and disappeared at a point down more than half way to the horizon. At 9.30 a very bright one appeared at a point about 1° above Castor and above Jupiter to the north. At 11.25 an exceedingly large and brilliant meteor burst out from 1/2 ° below Menkar (in the Whale), and went down at right angles to the very horizon, leaving a long, bright streak behind. November 11, a large one, at 0.15 a.m., dropped down to the horizon from Uræ; Majoris. At 0.55 a.m. a very large one proceeded from 1/2 ° to the right of Lacertæ and disappeared at γ Cygni. November 18, at 1.40 a.m., a very large reddish meteor burst out from the top of Ursa Major's head, and passed right above Vega, and disappeared about 4° beyond it in a strange sparkling explosion. At 1.55 a.m. a very brilliant meteor dashed out about 2° above α Arietis, went through the Square of Pegasus, leaving a beautiful stream of blue fire behind, and lasting a few seconds. About 5.30 another large blue meteor passed from the centre of Leo's back through a point 4° above Denebola, and ended in a beautiful explosion 15° beyond. On the night of November 22 there was a fine display of (generally) large meteors from Taurus to Ursa Major; many of them proceeded from the Lion's Head. During the month a great number of meteors passed from some point in Scorpio, under Jupiter and Mars, right into the Lion's Head. They were all large and bright. During the last half of the month some fine displays of morning meteors were seen. At 4 a.m., November 29, I observed a very large and swift meteor. It blazed oat from a point about 8° above Denebola, and dashed with great velocity up the heavens, passing 4° above δ Leonis and over the Lion's Head, and exploded about 5° beyond, leaving a stream of the most beautiful blue light in its wake that I ever witnessed.

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