The 2001 Leonids from Oregon
By Wes Stone

I joined Margaret McCrea's Skycamping Worldwide group at Pitcher Ranch, near Silver Lake in SE Oregon.  The result was a truly spectacular experience.

In just over 5 hours of observing between 0800-1344 UT November 18 (midnight-5:44am PST), I counted 2129 Leonids and 80 sporadics.  Those numbers do not include the impressive display of 21 Leonid earthgrazers before midnight, nor the many Leonids seen during breaks.

Counts revealed a broad activity with a peak between1033-1043 UT (graph of Leonids per 5-minute intervals).  The peak count for 5 minutes was 93 Leonids.  The peak 1-minute count was 32 Leonids between 1040 and 1041 UT.  My peak hourly count based on 5-minute intervals was 925 between 1013-1114 UT (1 minute break in this period). The  ZHR for this one-hour period was around 1300, while the peak effective ZHR using a 15-minute bin was near 1500 (graph of rough EZHRs).  The EZHR curve shows a secondary peak just after 1100 UT; while rates did surge around this time, the EZHR may be too high as the result of overcorrection for cloud cover.  Data from other observers will be needed to construct a rigorous rate profile.  The International Meteor Organization is still inputting data as of March 2002, but a decent analysis has already been done.  While technical, it is certainly worth a look, and the graphs lend credence to the double peak!

Magnitude distributions show that faint meteors were scarce (magnitude distribution graph).  There were fireballs, but not many relative to the number of meteors. Several observers did report a preponderance of fireballs; it will be interesting to see the spread in magnitude distributions between observers.

Narrative Report

Copy of formal report sent to the International Meteor Organization