December 13, 2003
|Saturday evening my sister, Carrie, and I drove out
to Columbus Texas. We were wanting some dark skies to view the meteors and to
get some counts.
Finding a spot south of Columbus we set up. The moon was forecast to rise much
later. Our plan was to observe until the moon rose, getting at least one hour of
early evening meteor counts to compare to the morning counts where the bright
moon would be a factor.
The skies were crisp and clear! I particularly marveled at the Pleiades. I
don’t know that I have ever seen them so distinct before. No hint of fog to
them…each of the seven stars was easy to see. No clouds were visible and
temperature was 37 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping.
We watched as meteors, roughly one each two minutes, graced our skies. We saw
quite a few nice ones. One in particular came almost parallel to the horizon and
was purple in color and very very faint. It traveled about 30 degrees of sky and
then turned directly toward the horizon in a brilliant flash. I recall seeing a
few meteors do this when I observed the Geminids of 2001.
We saw a few sporadic meteors that were quite bright and a few Geminids that were point
meteors…always cool to see. We watched the moon rise and decided to end the
1st meteor count observation. From 8:50p.m. to 10:20
counted 51 Geminid meteors. Carrie counted 47
during that 1 1/2 hours.
Tired and with numb toes from the cold we went back to Columbus for a few hours
of sleep. We slept from 11pm to 2:30a.m.
| At 2:30 we got up to head back out
again for some morning meteor counts. We were joined by friend and fellow astronomer Steve
At 3:20am we began another hour of meteor counts. The
temperature was 34 but it dropped to 32 while we were out. Ice formed on the
grass at the location. Unfortunately, fog had moved in and that coupled with the
bright moonlight dramatically cut down on our meteor numbers seen. For that hour
I counted 53 meteors. Carrie and Steve counted 59 and 32 respectively.