The 2001 Leonid Meteor Shower

At last we had a clear night for one of the turn-of-the-millenium displays of the Leonid meteor shower, which have been quite strong. I estimate that the ZHR ("zenithal hourly rate") was between 500 and 1000 meteors/hour from 4:45 to 5:15 AM EST in Princeton.

Although there were lots of meteors, there were not very many bright fireballs (which make the best pictures). The upper photo shows one colorful fireball and a bit of its glowing trail which persisted for at least three minutes. Five fainter meteors were captured in the lower photo, and they clearly define the shower's radiant (X) in the sickle of Leo. Both photos are ca. 3 minute exposures on Fuji 800 film using a 28 mm f/1.8 lens.