The Official Publication of the Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association, Inc


VOL XVI, NO 12w                                                   DECEMBER 2001                                                 
Scott Petersen, Editor

©2001 BMAA, Inc

Leonid Meteor Shower 2001

- photo by Jerry Lodriguss

A photograph of three Leonids by Jerry Lodriguss of the Willingboro Astronomical Society, in New Jersey.

Image taken on November 18, 2001at an elevation 4100' near Spruce Knob, West Virginia.

See more BMAA Leonid info inside this issue.




Elections of BMAA Officers for 2002 were held at the November General Meeting.

The current slate of officers was nominated and approved by the membership.


This month's General Meeting is December 5, 8:00p at Peace Valley Nature Center

The next BMAA General Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 2


 BMAA MESSAGELINE - 215/579-9973



The CONSTELLATION is the official publication of the Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and exists for the exchange of ideas, news, information and publicity among the BMAA membership, as well as the amateur astronomy community at large. The views expressed are not necessarily those of BMAA, but of the contributors and are edited to fit within the format and confines of the publication. Unsolicited articles relevant to astronomy are welcomed and may be submitted to the Editor.

Reprints of articles, or complete issues of the CONSTELLATION, are available by contacting the Editor at the address listed below, and portions may be reproduced without permission, provided explicit acknowledgement is made and a copy of that publication is sent to the Editor. The contents of this publication, and its format (published hard copy or electronic) are copyright ©2001 BMAA, Inc.

In an effort to transmit the CONSTELLATION electronically to the membership of BMAA, please provide a current e-dress to the Editor. Abbreviated issues are available on the web site, but complete editions will be e-mailed to members in good standing.

Submission deadline for articles is the 15th of the month prior to publication.

WYCOMBE PA 18980-0333
TEL: 215/598-8447
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Bucks-Mont Astronomical Association, Inc

 2001 Calendar of Events


StarWatch Chairman: Antoine Pharamond, 215/412-9291

Information Line - 215/579-9973


 2002 BMAA Officers

President - Ed Murray, 215/493-2843

Vice President - Antoine Pharamond, 215/412-9291

Treasurer - Ed Radomski, 215/822-8312

Secretary - Ken Wieland, 215/362-7228


BMAA past-president Allen Rodriguez extends an invitation for any club member to visit his Shifting Sands Observatory

in Chiefland FL during the month of February 2002. Contact him at 215/672-4280 or



Interesting club e-mail regarding the recent Leonid Meteor Shower

Subject: Re: [bmaa] Who was at Van Sant for the Meteors ? Sign In...

Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 17:59:45 -0500

I was there for the really impressive heavenly show. Ed Sturm Wayne and Ryan Adams David Maurer

Antoine and Co. Alan Pasicznyk Ed Murray Rick Lentz Ken Wieland George Reagan Ed Radomski

Bob Post Bernie Kosher Bruce & Leah Collier Vita Forlenza Joe Gagnon Bob Jackson

Subject: Re: [bmaa] many per minute?

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 20:53:47 EST

Hi Peter, a group of us at Van Sant took counts for 15 min. at the hours of 3,4,and 5am,each person covering a section of the sky.At 3am I believe we had a count of 87,at 4am the count was around110,and at 5am we counted 360 and missed quite a few(they were coming fast and furious).There was one after 5am that lit the ground like someone taking a picture with a flash.Truly OUTSTANDING. Wayne W.

Subject: Re: [bmaa] many per minute?

Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 09:00:23 EST

Hi all! My son Phillip, my wife and I decided to view the shower at the K-Mart parking lot in Warminster. All the lights were turned out. At its peak, say 5:15am to 5:30am, we counted 20/minute. We were covering maybe 60% of the sky.... Lou Patrick

Subject: [bmaa] many per minute?

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 21:37:43 -0500

Ed: We weren't timing them, but maybe 12 per minute for a short time around 5:00am . They were ALL OVER the sky, and you can only see so much sky at one time, no matter how hard you try. We watched from here (Churchville.) Quite a number of people were out - we could hear lots of voices, both adults and children, saying "ooo" and "ahh", just like the Fourth of July. We were looking East and decided to check out West - and there were just as many if not more. So that rate of 12 might have been closer to 20 at that. Lots of big ones leaving trails behind. One left a trail that was still visible (if you knew where to look) for at least three minutes, maybe more. We had to go in about 5:15-5:30, and I remember saying, "We'll count 10 more and then go in," but that happened so fast (within a minute) that we decided to count 10 more, and then walked slowly into the house walking abckwrads. How good was the show? It wasn't until we got inside that we both realized we could no longer feel our fingers and toes! Linda & Peter :)

Subject: [bmaa] I caught a Leonid by the tail..

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 16:28:38 -0500

Well, after worrying all last week and after seeing those cirrus clouds yesterday, it finally seemed that I might see some Leonids. Some of our members, Alan P included, slayed the insomnia daemon and got 40 winks yesterday, but alas, I could not.

1:30 am found me traveling down the road to stock up on gas ( I should have known..that hour does something to me***) and after stopping home to load the rest of my equipment (and seeing 2 Leonids in my driveway) I finally left in earnest. The first thing I realized (and had forgotten) is how terribly nice it is traveling down the Newtown bypass without a lot of company....except 3 Bubble Gum machines that thankfully left me alone. The second thing is remembering that it's awfully easy making a wrong turn in the middle of the night finding myself closer to Council Rock than 413.

Needless to say that I didn't have any other trouble on my way to Alan's and I even got there on time!

Arriving at Van Sant I noticed there were a few cars there already and we started to set up shop. I was well prepared with food and coffee (hot) but it got a lot Got to remember to invest in a better thermos or bring my coleman stove next time! Got my camera out and CD player and watched meteors listening to Tomita's "The Planets" and Star Gazer's theme.

I was busy shooting pics and some folks looked at Orion through my Astroscan. I did pick up the new Comet Linear and saw some meteors. What I didn't realize is just how many were out there! George Reagan said they counted 350 in 15 minutes! At one point I was spinning around just trying to see how many I could pick up! Did anyone notice the meteor that flashed and stopped right at a bright star? It almost seemed like it traveled from one spot to another. Now I know why they say "shooting stars".! And what about the one that looked like it went out to reappear again? But all good things do come to an end and all to soon dawn started creeeping up in the east when I finally noticed the "Zodiacal Light" beginning at the horizon north (right) of Leo and extending in an ellipse just ending under his head.

And as we started to pack up those meteors were still coming and I forgot to listen to them too! Well, I think we will have to try this again...Another meteor watch from Van Sant!

Oh, yes...the film gremlin..yes he does live in my car! Just as my film ran out and I began to rewind it it broke. ( Oh I can just hear that little gremlin snickering) Taking a cue from Bob & Brad I did however have extra film.. Loading it, I began to take a few pics. Fast forward a few hours as I picked up the film...and what to my wondering eyes should appear not one but 3 meteors!!!

BUT..Alas, I forgot the one other thing I should have done.. In my haste, I didn't make sure the lens was focused! :(

Nice round images of stars...with a few meteors. Ed Murray

Subject: [bmaa] Leonids

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 09:21:17 -0500

Hi, this is Arthur, the member of the BMAA that is always very absent. I swear someday when my schedule allows, I will become more active and you will see and hear from me more often.

I set my alarm clock for 3am (unfortunately, the gravity was very strong this morning in Levittown and I did not get out of bed until 3:35am- Damn those snooze alarms!) Once I got up, me and my trusty dog Scout wondered outside to catch the show!

I live in the Blueridge section of Levittown, just behind Truman High School off of Green Lane. I went outside at about 3:40am and stayed outside until 5:20am.

During that 1 hour and 40 minutes, I counted aprox. 196 meteors which averages to almost two per minute. The brightest was number 87 at about 4:15am originating directly in Leo and heading down towards Venus. You could clearly see the meteor as a bright dot and it's trail lasted impressively for several seconds.

A handful came in two's and there was one occurrence of triples.

I have a nice dark backyard, but I have to contend with much light pollution from Bristol and Levittown. But all in all, I was impressed and not disappointed at all.

I would have stayed out longer, but my toes were getting cold and my dog was getting hungry and bugging me to go inside and feed her. Anyway, this is Arthur, reporting from Levittown.

Clear skies to all......... Arthur G. Schandel, Jr.

Subject: Leonid's report

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 09:16:32 -0500

Leonid's report 18 Nov 2001

A pretty good show! I was up at Dave Sitz's place in Upper Bucks from about 3am -7am EST. (Temp 25 - 30 frost on ground)

Limiting magnitude was about Mag 5 (I could see all the stars in URSA MINOR Little dipper) About 10 - 15 meteors per minute all the time, just after 5am rose to 30 - 35 per/min. Probably could double that number because my view about 1/2 the sky?

Dave was taking B&W photos piggy back on his LX-200 and on tripod. Some left trails that lasted for minutes, some ended in bright flashes. Fast and slow ones most Leonids rare sporadics. We saw many bright ones after sky was quite light before sunrise.

I'll bet the west had a real good show with the rate increasing toward eastern sunrise. Hope you got to see the show. RT

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- The Forum exists for the intercommunication of club members regarding matters of club interest. [ -ed]