1997 Leonid Shower from Space

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In November 1997, the Midcourse Space Experiment satellite (MSX) was deployed to observe the Leonid shower from space. The shower lived up to expectations, with abundant bright fireballs. Twenty-nine meteors were detected by a wide-angle, visible wavelength, camera near the limb of the Earth in a 48-minute interval, and three meteors by the narrow field camera. This amounts to a meteoroid influx of 5.5 ± 0.6 10−5 km−2 hr−1 for masses > 0.3 gram. The limiting magnitude for limb observations of Leonid meteors was measured at Mv = −1.5 magn. The Leonid shower magnitude population index was 1.6 ± 0.2 down to Mv = −7 magn., with no sign of an upper mass cut-off.

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