Notes from November 18:
Conditions were ideal -- clear skies at about 42 degrees on a still, moonless November night illuminated only by the milky way galaxy with its magnificent dust lanes.  Coffee proved unnecessary -- the first electrifying sight of a fireball arching  overhead at 40 miles per second sent us scurrying for our equipment.     We used a digital camcorder with a night-vision intensifier to tape hundreds of meteors, and captured still pictures using Fuji 800 film on long exposures  -- one of which is shown as the background of this page.   Clicking on the pictures below will allow you to download MPEG movies of some of the best fireballs recorded by the camcorder.  At the end is a 4-minute  movie containing a loop of the 40 best events spliced together to the music of Spyro Gyra.

M34607 - bright double
M40351 - bright close-up
M40908 - close up
M43825 - triple
M44048 - well-structured fireball
M50303 - long fireball
M50436 - burnout with tail
M50440 - triple
M50711 - big fireball
M50920 - massive burnout
M51109 - nice bright burnout
M51709 - nice double

The storm was supposed to peak at about one meteor per second -- but we had been disappointed before on previous trips.  This time the experience exceeded our expectations.  Dozens of explosive fireballs lit the desert to the horizon, and several "smokers"  left long vapor trails that slowly disintegrated in stratospheric winds.   We had planned to recline, but instead we walked along the mountain ridge, constantly turning our heads as the sky blazed with falling stars -- pairs, trios, even four at once.  The meteors seemed to come in distinct clumps that started in the east, and gradually moved west.
Over several hours the storm gradually died out, and we were treated to a splendid sunrise that left us wondering -- was that brilliant red caused by a high-altitude haze of vaporized meteoric dust?  Surrounded by the alien landscape of standing rocks -- it was a most unearthly place to be bombarded by fragments of another world.  Click here for technical analysis of the meteor shower,  click pictures to enlarge, or else click the hawk to continue your journey. 
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