We are GrATeful to Greg Lemmond for his grEAt report on the Leonids Meteor Shower. Read on...
Well, CHAOS has finally identified the sure route to high attendance at an outing... schedule it for 3 AM! Despite (or because of?) everyone's busy schedules, the turnout was the largest seen in a long time. Although there was no actual headcount, there were at least 8 cars journeying from our meeting point at Angler's Sporting Goods - probably more than 24 people (and three dogs).
After a short drive across the bay to some isolated farmland on the Eastern Shore, we parked and everybody spread out on tarps and sleeping bags on both sides of the country lane. Our eyes hadn't even gotten used to the darkness (nor our toes to the cold), when one of the largest meteors of the night flashed by ...people actually saw shadows, it was so bright!
The meteor shower was everything we expected it to be and more, as the meteors were on almost all points of the horizon and sky, and of all degrees of brightness and duration. The dozen or so amateur mathematicians amongst us calculated that some of the peak periods experienced up to 2,000 meteors per hour (I ran out of fingers, and couldn't count my numb toes, so I only know that I saw 10)
Yes. It WAS a bit chilly, but we were extremely lucky that the fog that blanketed much of the mainland didn't stop us from having a clear view overhead. Most everybody was well prepared with blankets and coats, hot coffee and brownies, so we all survived. The pre-dawn (5:30 AM) breakfast plans were chaotic, but it seems certain that everyone looked forward to and found a hot meal and some sleep after this once-every-30-years light show.
Possibly the only thing keeping it from a perfect outing was the limited opportunity to exchange small talk in the pitch-black darkness along the roadside. On your next outing with CHAOS, be sure to mention that you were one of the frozen, and perhaps we can plan CHAOS' next midnight excursion!