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[jamsat-news:1176] * SpaceNes 08-Nov-99 *

* SpaceNews 08-Nov-99 *

BID: $SPC1108



In anticipation of "higher than normal" meteor activity during this
November's annual Leonid Meteor Shower, NASA has created an image library
and invites amateur astronomers, photographers and individuals with Single
Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras or other imaging equipment, to upload their Leonid
meteor photographs or images to the Near-Live Leonid Meteor Watching System:


Every 33 years, there is a higher probability that the Leonid Meteor
Shower will turn into a meteor storm.  This is caused by the parent comet
55P/Temple-Tuttle and its 33 year orbit around the sun, which nearly
intersects that of Earth's.  Fortunately, this occurs with Earth and
the comet on different sides of Earth's orbit.

As it approaches the inner solar system and is heated by the sun, the
comet replenishes its path with tiny bits of material eroded away by the
solar wind and radiation.  As Earth travels in its path around the sun and
encounters this debris stream, the small grains of material in this stream
slam into Earth's upper atmosphere at a very high rate of speed becoming
incandescent and leaving an ionized and luminous trail that we see as a
meteor or "falling star".

On an average year, 15 to 20 Leonid meteors per hour can be seen, depending
on your local viewing conditions.  During a storm year, anything can happen
as history has shown.  The last major Leonid Meteor Storm occurred on
November 16, 1966, peaking for observers in the mid-western United States.
Hourly meteor rates were estimated to be as high as 144,000!  Historical
accounts dating back to the 1833 and 1866 Leonids are fascinating to read.
The 1899 and 1932 Leonids were largely missed and it is suspected that
Jupiter may have altered the meteor stream's orbit for those years.
Studies also suggest 2000, 2001 or even 2002 could be much better than
normal years, with significantly higher meteor counts than normal years.
The 1999 Leonid Meteor Shower is an event that has been long anticipated
by the astronomy community.

The peak of the meteor shower or "storm component" has been predicted by
the experts to interact with Earth some time between  01:48 and 04:15 UTC,
November 18, 1999.  Observable hourly rates should be significantly higher
than normal years, perhaps on the order of several hundred to several
thousand per hour during the peak.  However, it must be emphasized that
the various components of a meteor shower, such as peak time and hourly
rates are extremely hard to predict.  The peak time can be off by several
hours and recorded counts will certainly vary with local sky conditions,
the moon and light pollution, visual obstructions and location on Earth.

If the peak occurs during the earlier predicted time, Asia and Europe will
be positioned favorably with the radiant high overhead.  If it occurs a few
hours past the later predicted time, the western portions of Europe and
Africa, along with the East Coast of the United States, will be positioned
favorably.  This is certainly an event not to be missed and it would be
well advised to look for the Leonids during the early morning hours of
November 17th and November 19th, due to the uncertainty.

The radiant or apparent area of origin of the meteors, in the constellation
Leo, rises in the east shortly before midnight local time November 17th
(November 18, 1999 05:00 Universal Time).  No Leonid meteors should be
expected to be seen prior to this due to the direction that the meteors
travel.  The moon will interfere with meteor visibility shortly after the
radiant rises.  It will be waxing gibbous or just past half full and will
be setting around 1:00AM local time.  It should be noted that the radiant
does rise just after the predicted peak for US East Coast observers.
However, if the peak, which is very hard to predict is a few hours late,
the US will be able to observe the peak with the radiant higher in the sky.

NASA scientists and ham radio amateurs are teaming up for a weather balloon
flight to the stratosphere during the Leonid meteor shower on November 18,
1999.  The balloon will transmit a live webcast of the meteor shower from
an altitude of 100,000 ft or more, far above any bad weather or obscuring
clouds.  The transmission will include audio from a VLF radio receiver
designed to capture natural radio signals from the meteors.  Further details
are available at: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast01nov99_1.htm

[Info via George Varros and Ron Baalke relayed by WB2GZM/VK3JJH]

NASA Space Science News for November 5, 1999 reports that a "surprise"
meteor shower may occur this year on November 11, 1999.  On that date,
the Earth will pass close to the orbit of newly-discovered Comet LINEAR
C/1999J3.  The result could be a new meteor shower -- the Linearids.
Details including tips for visual and ham radio observing are available
at: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast05nov99_1.htm

A data reload was completed on Friday 29-Oct-99 and the satellite was
switched into digitalker mode.  The following is the latest operating

Sat 30-Oct-99 -to- Mon 08-Nov-99 : Digitalker
Tue 09-Nov-99 -to- Wed 10-Nov-99 : Mode JA
Thu 11-Nov-99 -to- Tue 23-Nov-99 : Digitalker
Wed 24-Nov-99 -to- Thu 25-Nov-99 : Mode JA
Fri 26-Nov-99 -to- Tue 30-Nov-99 : Digitalker

The Digitalker can be easily heard on a narrowband FM receiver tuned to
435.910 MHz (+/- Doppler).

[Info via Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK]

The following is the latest SUNSAT operating schedule.  Note that a
software glitch caused occasional discrepancies between previously
published schedules and the actual operation of the satellite.  This
is expected to be corrected very shortly.  Times listed are in UTC.
The satellte's uplink is on 436.291 MHz FM plus and minus 9kHz Doppler
shift.  The downlink is on 145.825 MHz FM.  On November 14 at 12:18 UTC,
there is mutual window between Europe and the East Coast of the USA and
Canada via SUNSAT.

07 November 1999
Indonesia and Japan		01:52 to 02:06
Africa				09:55 to 10:09
Europe 				10:11 to 10:25
Western USA			16:50 to 17:04

13 November 1999
Australia, Indonesia, Far East	02:36 to 02:50
Southern Africa 		09:13 to 09:27
Europe 				09:38 to 09:52
USA				16:09 to 16:23

14 November
Australia			 01:54 to 02:08
Southern Africa			 08:33 to 08:47
Europe				 08:57 to 09:11
Transatlantic			 12:18 to 12:30

In the brief window from 12:18 to 12:30, it should be possible to make
Transatlantic Contacts between Eastern USA, Eastern Canada to Spain and

20 November 1999
Australia			01:11 to 01:25
Southern Africa			09:31 to 09:45
Europe 				09:54 to 10:08
USA				16:29 to 16:43

21 November 1999
Australia			02:11 to 02:25
Southern Africa			08:52 to 09:06
Europe 				09:15 to 09:29
South America			13:54 to 14:08

27 November 1999
Australia 			01:30 to 01:44
Southern Africa			08:11 to 08:25
Southern Africa			09:49 to 10:03
USA				16:47 to 17:01

The two consecutive passes over Southern Africa coincide with the
Community festival in Durbanville where amateur radio will be on show.

28 November 1999 
Australia			00:50 to 01:04
Southern Africa			09:11 to 09:25
Europe				09:34 to 09:48
South America			14:13 to 14:27

Please share your experiences and observations with the SUNSAT team.
Email: saamsat@intekom.co.za

[Info via Hans van de Groenendaal]

SA AMSAT has introduced a SUNSAT Operating Award to reward stations
for the number of contacts they have made with individual stations.

There are three categories: Bronze for 25 contacts.  Silver for 50
contacts and Gold for 100 contacts.  The objective is to work as many
different callsigns as possible with the restriction that only one
contact per pass may be claimed for the Award.  No duplicate contacts
are allowed, a station qualifies only once.

To claim the award applicants must submit a copy of their log, verified
by the chairman of a local Radio Club or two Amateurs to SA AMSAT, P.O.
Box 1842, Hillcrest 3650 South Africa.  There will additional surprises
for the first 3 successful applications.

Short-wave Listeners may also apply for the award.  Their logs must
include the callsigns of both the stations monitored.

The cost of the award is $5 or 5 IRCs to cover postage.

[Info via Hans van de Groenendaal]

Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor
(John, KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:
WWW       : http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
INTERNET  : kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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