Friday, March  24, 2017
Return to home
Our objective was to attempt to view the 2001 iteration of the Leonid Meteor shower. Due to the particular nature of the leonid dust stream in space, this year was forecast as a potential meteor storm (definition of meteor storm: more than 1000 meteors visible per hour). Since this was apparently going to be an extra special event, we (Markus, Lorraine and I) decided to try and view the meteors from a place with little light pollution and good clean sky. With this in mind, what better place than at the top of a mountain peak?
Overview Map
This map shows the GPS-generated track of our route to the summit from the Parking lot (which is on Route 73).
Starting at Sunset
So, off we went to the Adirondacks; we picked a relatively easy short peak with an open summit : Noonmark mountain. We started late in the day and arrived at the summit at dusk. The mountain in the picture is Giant mountain, visible across Keene valley to the east. [enlarge]
Summit Campsite
We picked a sheltered flat spot near the summit block to pitch our tents. It was cool, but not out of the ordinary for late November in the Adirondacks (somewhat below freezing). We quickly made some supper and then hit the sack at 7:00pm, looking to get a solid 7 or so hours of sleep before getting up to watch the action (the meteor shower peak was forecast for 5:00am the next morning). [enlarge]
Summit meteor-watching nook
This shot (taken later after sunrise) shows our summit viewing spot. Lorraine is contained withing the red fluffy sack; after watching the meteor shower, she slept for 4 hours out in the open on the summit. [enlarge]
Time Exposure, North
This time exposure shot looks towards the north - notice the star trails wheeling around polaris, the north start, at the top of the picture. There _are_ meteors (two of them) visible in this picture, but they are faint. The problem I had was that my lens and my film were too slow. If I'd had film that was 4 times faster and a faster lens, my meteor shots would have come out much better - but I had to make do with what I had in my camera.

If you still can't spot the meteors, look at the next picture - it outlines the meteors. [enlarge]
Annotated Meteor Tracks
This shot shows two leonid meteors. [enlarge]
Time Exposure shot - looking towards the radiant
The meteors start falling fast and furious - at one point we are seeing 3 or 4 in a second - definitely in excess of the 1000 per hour rate. We are seeing a genuine meteor storm!

This is a better shot, a bit shorter and in a darker part of the sky. It is pointing more or less directly at the 'radiant', or at the apparent spot in the sky from which the meteors appear to come. For this shower, the radiant is in the constellation of Leo the Lion (hence the name 'leonids').

In any case, this shot manages to capture no fewer than 6 meteors - amazing considering the low light sensitivity of the film/lens combination. There were many many more meteors than this during the time the shutter was open - these are just the faint images of the brightest ones. Again, if you are having trouble seeing the meteors, have a look at the next picture - it outlines them. [enlarge]
Leonid Meteor Track
This shot was taken with the camera pointed directly at the radiant point. 6 meteors can be seen, all radiating away from the radiant point. If I'd had some better film or a better lens, this would have been a really awesome shot. Still pretty neat as it is, though. [enlarge]
Noonmark sunrise
Dawn finally approaches, and gradually our view of the meteors fade. Hopefully the viewers in Australia, who get to see the next peak in a few hours, will get an even better show. [enlarge]
November Adirondack Sunrise
As the sun rises, it is time to take pictures of the start late-autumn scenery. Amazingly, there is virtually no snow, even on the higher peaks. [enlarge]
The high peaks
This is a shot of the great range and the high peaks as seen from the summit of Noonmark. The higher pointy peak in the center is Mount Marcy. At 5300+ feet, it is the highest mountain in NY state. [enlarge]
Markus and Noonmark summit
This is markus braving the edge of the summit block on Noonmark [enlarge]
Conifer and Whiteface
This shot shows a distant Whiteface mountain along with a scruffy conifer. [enlarge]
Marcy and Haystack
A closeup shot of Mount Marcy along with Haystack mountain (to the left). Haystack mountain is probably my favourite of Adirondack peaks [enlarge]
Lorraine and Keene Valley
Lorraine poses (with tough mountain footwear) with Keene valley in the background far below. [enlarge]
Fashion Footwear
A closeup of the fashionable mountain slippers. [enlarge]
Markus and Keene Valley
Another shot looking down into Keene Valley. [enlarge]
Hiking Down
On the way down, Markus stops to plant a geocache. You can read about it (correction: cache long since removed...) [enlarge]
The Noonmark Diner
Seeing as we'd just come down from Noonmark mountain, we should eat at the Noonmark diner in Keene Valley. I'd heard that diner was a quaint place - and it was. I highly recommend it. [enlarge]
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