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. PM meteor count/graphic
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 I 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 Grubbs. 

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. 

As always just being under the stars makes for a good time and the company made it a wonderful experience. It was really cold, but worth it to see those meteors dance in the sky.

I can’t wait until next year:)

PM Meteor Counts/Photographs/Table

AM Meteor Counts/Photographs/Table

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