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Leonid MAC

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1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Destination: 1998 mission 1999 mission 2000 campaign 2001 mission 2002 mission

1998 Leonid MAC

The following arguments decided the chosen flight path:

  • Leonid "storm" component (only visible over eastern Asia):
    • main peak between 17:00 - 21:00 UT November 17, 1998
    • duration: 1-3 hours (sharp maximum)
    • peak rate of order 100 to 10,000 /hr
    • rich in faint meteors
    • peculiarities: there may be a background component to this peak that is longer in duration
    • observing strategy: western most location for flight route. Ground stations in China for coverage of flux after 21:00 UT.
  • Leonid "filament" component (visible all over the world):
    • peak expected at passage of node (but returned 0.6 days early).
    • duration: up to 3 days. Rates elevated in nights of Nov. 16/17, Nov. 17/18 and Nov. 18/19.
    • peak rate about 300 per hour
    • rich in bright meteors
    • peculiarities: time of the peak was 0.6 days earlier than expected
    • observing strategy: none.

Earth from perspective of shower

Earth from the perspective of the Leonid shower at the time of passing the comet orbital plane at 19:43h UT, 1998 Nov 17.

Flight path

The route of the aircraft during the Leonid MAC 1998 mission. FISTA and Electra followed a different route to Okinawa (Kadena AFB) due to different aircraft range. On Nov. 17/18, we circled over the East China Sea.
detail mission flight path

Mission flight path: detail of airplane route on peak night. FISTA was circling the Electra aircraft, both following a pentagon shaped path. At 20:52:06, a bright fireball made FISTA change course briefly for better viewing.

Related ground-based activities for multi-station photography and video will occur at two locations in China (Beijing area and Delingha region). Also, ground activities in California (photography) and at Starfire Optical Range (lidar).

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