Saturday, November 16, 2013

Leonid Meteors Peak Sun. Just After Full Beaver Moon

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower 

The Leonid Meteor Shower officially peaks at high Noon Eastern Standard Time on Sunday (17:00 Coordinated Universal Time), so obviously no one in North America will see meteors at that time. However, due to a Full Moon occurring less than two hours earlier, Leonid meteors will also be difficult to see late Saturday night--early Sunday morning and late Sunday night--early Monday morning.

Meteors from the Leonid Meteor Shower emanate from remnants of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Leonid Meteor Storms occur once each 33 years (the last one was in 2009), when many meteors are visible. Other years, such as this year, the peak rate of meteors would be about 10 meteors per hour, under ideal conditions. And, with a Full Moon hampering the view, this year will not be ideal.

However, if you wish to try your luck with the Leonids this year, the best time to see any meteor shower is between local Midnight and Dawn, when the Earth is actually rotating into the meteor shower. The Leonids are so named because most meteors appear to radiate from the Constellation Leo the Lion. However, during any meteor shower, meteors can appear in any part of the sky at any time.

Telescopes and binoculars are of little use for finding meteors. Such optical devices restrict the field-of-view, thus that you could easily miss a lot of meteors, and the chance that you could observe a meteor with a telescope or binoculars is not very good. The best way to look for meteors is to lie down on the ground, in an area with an unobstructed view of most of the sky. Then, just keep scanning throughout the sky until you see a meteor.

The Full Moon of November, in the Northern Hemisphere, is generally known as the Beaver Moon. This was the time when Native Americans set-out beaver traps, before creeks and swamps froze-over, to ensure a good supply of warm furs for the coming Winter. Although beavers do not hibernate, by the following month the beavers would be in their lodges for the Winter, difficult for hunters to trap.

This beaver fur was its most usable at this time of year, both waterproof and warm. The furs also provided a special oil, used as a hair protector. The beaver was revered by the Native Americans, spiritually.

While most people consider the Full Moon as the Beaver Moon, the Native Americans actually considered the whole Moon cycle (all four Moon phases) as the Beaver Moon (i.e. the Beaver Month for the 28.5-day lunar cycle).

Other researchers believe the Beaver Moon name came from the fact that beavers, themselves, are active building water dams,  preparing for Winter.

The Beaver Moon occurs this year on Sunday, 2013 November 17 at 10:16 a.m. EST (15:16 Coordinated Universal Time).

This month's Full Moon sometimes is also referred to as the Frost or Frosty Moon. And, some Indian tribes referred to the November Full Moon as the Deer-Mating Moon or the Fur-Pelts Moon.

For years when the Harvest Moon occurs in October (when the October Full Moon date is closer to the Autumnal Equinox than the September Full Moon date), the November Full Moon is then known as the Hunter's Moon. However, this was not the case in 2013.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the Full Moon of November is known as the Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, and Hare Moon.

More on How to make the most of a low-key Leonid meteor shower:
Link >>>

More on the Leonid Meteor Shower:
Link >>>

More on Comet Tempel-Tuttle:
Link >>>

More on Full Moon names ---
Link 1 >>>
Link 2 >>>
Link 3 >>>

Source: Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

Want to receive SpaceWatchtower blog posts in your inbox ?
Send request to < >..


Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < >
Electronic Mail - < >
About the SpaceWatchtower Editor/Author: < >
SpaceWatchtower Blog: < >
Also see: South Hills Backyard Astronomers Blog: < >
< >
Twitter: < >
Facebook: < >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < >
* Public Transit:
  < >

1 comment: