The 1999 Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign - An Early Review

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Two B707-type research aircraft of the 452nd Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base were deployed to study the Leonid meteor storm of 1999 over the Mediterranean Sea on Nov. 18. The mission was sponsored by various science programs of NASA, and offered an international team of 35 researchers observing conditions free of clouds and low altitude extinction at a prime location for viewing the storm. This 1999 Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign followed a similar effort in 1998, improving upon mission strategy and scope. As before, spectroscopic and imaging experiments targeted meteors and persistent trains, but also airglow, aurora, elves and sprites. The research aimed to address outstanding questions in astrobiology, planetary science, astronomy, and upper atmospheric research. In addition, USAF co-sponsored the mission to provide near real-time flux measurements for space weather awareness. First results are presented in these issues of Earth, Moon, and Planets in preparation for future missions that will target the exceptional Leonid returns of 2001 and 2002. An early review of the scientific achievements in the context of campaign objectives is given.

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