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More impressions of the Leonids from this morning - 11/18-19/23

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(@paul-jones)
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Now that I've had a bit of sleep and not so drowsy as I was earlier this morning (11/8-19/23), I wanted to provide a bit more analysis on my post-max. 2023 Leonid session from this morning. As with most Leonid observing sessions, there may well have been more going on than easily met the eye!
Although I officially recorded a total of 21 Leonids observed, I strongly suspect there may have been many more of them in actual fact. There were several instances during the watch when I "thought" I caught very subtle, barely visible wisps of motion against the starry background. Since I wasn't sure if I saw them or not, I didn't count them in the totals.
I think now that they may have been extremely faint and short duration Leonids that were at or just below the visible threshold of my eyes being able to see them! This may tie into one of the amazing recent findings on the Leonid meteor stream.
It seems that the particle sizes of Leonid meteoroids being ejected from the comet are dependent upon their ejection speed out into space. Faster ejection speed dislodges larger particles that can produce brighter meteors, lower ejection speeds can produce smaller [articles that produce fainter meteors!
One of the reasons I was out observing this morning was to monitor for a potential build up towards a possible outburst predicted by some experts as occurring around 18 UT today (11/19/23). Since our longitude could only get to around 10 1/2 hrs UT before daylight interfered, I was keen to see if there was any evidence of the ramp up that might occur before dawn broke.
If the ejection speed of this potential outburst was low, the particles would be small and many perhaps just at or below the human eye threshold for detection. That may have been what I observed (or almost observed) this morning.
I've been observing the Leonid stream for 49 years now (including the most recent 33-year period "storm cycle" from 1998 to 2002) and I can truly say from experience, it is one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and enigmatic meteor showers of any of them!
I'll be back out there again in the morning to see them one more time if the weather allows!

   
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