Leonid '98 Reports

The 1998 Leonid shower provided many surprises, once again proving that this is an event that is difficult to predict.

No reports were made of a meteor storm observed during the 1998 Leonid shower, but that does not mean one did not occur. Reported sightings indicate that the observed peak of the shower, with about 300 meteors per hour, occurred about 15 hours ahead of the predicted time. This put the best observing sites in the Eastern Atlantic ocean, and it is possible that the numbers continued to increase, reaching a maximum over the Atlantic Ocean where it was not observed or reported.

Although the number of meteors did not reach the hoped-for storm levels, the overall shower was actually better than predicted. In the days around the peak, there were more meteors than expected, and the meteors tended to be much brighter than those seen in average showers. A large number of fireballs were observed, some of which were bright enough to cast shadows; at least one was reported to be almost as bright as the full moon.

The 1998 shower provided a wealth of information to scientists who are using that data in an attempt to predict the shower activity for the next several years.

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