Re: (IAAC) Falling Stars and Mosquitoes: Leonids '98 Florida (VERY LONG)

>NGC 1981... this is naked-eye?
YES! That was the extraordinary thing about that cold-front night:
newer observers who've never seen the sky from a dark site often get
confused, saying they can't recognize the constellations with "all
those stars"... I've spent long nights under dark skies, but there
were areas of the sky that night where I had that same feeling! It's
funny: I don't think my LM was more than two or three tenths of a
magnitude deeper than usual in Long Key. But that change made a major
difference in the number of stars visible - averted vision AND direct!
Based on what I saw that night, I'll be very excited some day to see
skies (in the Southwest for instance) which people think are REALLY
dark. ;> BTW, Penny, if you do go to the Keys, I highly recommend the
Long Key State Park - if you're into camping. If not, try the Indian
Key Fill nearby for observing: the sites further down the Overseas
Highway, such as Bahia Honda or West Summerland Key (where WSP is
usually held) are now severely affected by nearby development, and I
think have been for the last 10 years or more.
I'd hoped that the damage of the hurricanes might at least have one
positive effect of making these sites what they were in the late '70s.
But by the time I was there in November, Big Pine and Marathon Keys
had both recovered very well - in terms of light pollution anyway! :(
Some day, it may be worth trying the camp on the Dry Tortugas: many
miles off Key West, and free (hopefully) from local light trespass.
Clear skies everyone!
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