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||Who/What: Leonid Meteor-Shower-Viewing Open
House at Lewis-Clark State College's Moser Observatory
When: 8-10 p.m. Saturday, November 17
Where: Moser Observatory, Lewiston Roundup Grounds
Contact: LCSC Astronomy professor Victor Kriss, 208/792-2344
Outstanding Leonid Meteor Shower Display Possible
LEWISTON - If weather conditions permit, this weekend comes with the promise of a
brilliant display of the annual Leonid meteor shower. There will be an open house to view
the phenomenon at Lewis-Clark State College's Moser Observatory.
While the best viewing of the Leonid meteors will be much later in the evening (expert
predictions range from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Sunday, the 18th), the open house will be
from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday. Then, in the words of LCSC astronomy professor and
enthusiastic sky watcher, Victor Kriss, "If the shower shows the promise of turning
into a storm, people can move to darker locations to see the real fire works."
Leonid meteor showers happen every November when the Earth passes through leftover debris
of Comet Temple-Tuttle's tail. In general, one can expect to see about 10 to 15
"shooting stars" per hour. In the last couple of years, however, Earth has
passed through narrow streams of comet material that are only about ten Earth diameters
wide. As our planet enters these streams, the number of shooting stars can increase to
about one every few seconds.
This grand show, lasting for around an hour as the Earth passes through the center of the
comet stream, might well happen this weekend. With the dark side of the moon facing
currently facing Earth, meteor viewing should be excellent in locations far from city
lights. Under these conditions, the meteor "storm" could be the most spectacular
display of shooting stars seen in a generation.
The Moser Observatory is in good shape for the event. The structure, originally built on
campus by three LCSC professors and moved to the current location in 1986, received its
annual coat of new paint just last month.
While the open house is in progress, telescopes will also be set up to see Jupiter and
Saturn. The event is sponsored by the Lewiston Astronomical Society and Lewis-Clark State
College and is open to the public. Moser Observatory can be reached via the west entrance
of the Lewiston Roundup grounds. Viewers are encouraged to bring warm clothes, gloves, and
a reclining chair for comfortable shooting star watching.
Everyone is welcome. For more information contact Victor Kriss at 792-2344.