1999 Leonid Storm

I travelled to the Sinai Desert, Egypt, with a group of similarly intrepid observers to await the predicted storm. As it turned out we were treated to a superb spectacle. The decision to go to the Sinai Desert with its clear, dark skies and ideal viewing conditions proved to be an excellent one by the expedition's organisers.

Several other astronomical memories of that trip remain; the magnificent mag -5 Taurid fireball with persistent train observed on the 13th; the sight of Canopus, a brilliant jewel low in the south, and lastly, the naked eye sunspot group plainly visible at sunrise over the Red Sea.

Other highlights of our stay were snorkelling in the warm waters of the Red Sea amongst the beautifully coloured corals and fish and the view of the Sinai mountains from Na'ama Bay.

Here I present a selection of my images taken on the very memorable morning of the 18th November 1999.

Leo rising over the Sinai mountains. A bright Leonid streaks away from the radiant. At least three other Leonids are also visible. Ten minute untracked exposure through a 28mm lens at f/1.8.
A spectacular Leonid flashes through Puppis. Canis Major is to the right and Orion is top of the frame. Note the green train. Three minute tracked exposure through a 24mm lens at f/2.5.
At least 14 meteors are visible on this image. Ten minute tracked exposure through 24mm lens at f/2.5 taken around the time of the storm.
North polar star trails taken on the morning of the 17th November 1999. One hour exposure through 24mm lens at f/8.