November 19th, 2021, ~2:36 a.m. local time
I alluded in my account of the 2021 Lunar Eclipse of observations I took note of beyond the Moon itself. Here is the first. I cannot recall the exact time, but I am mostly certain this happened about a half hour before the eclipse’s 97% maximum. While getting ready for my next round of photographing, I witnessed a bright and large meteor streak from approximately Zenith into the Southwest.
I was standing on my backyard deck next to my Dobsonian telescope, which was pointed directly at the Moon, West by Southwest. The sky was brilliantly clear, a pleasant surprise given the overcast and flurries in the day just before. When I saw the meteor, my initial reaction was to crouch slightly. It was that bright and that unexpected, in the stillness and quiet of the 2 a.m. hour, to warrant such a response.
Of course, there is no way to know what exactly I saw, beyond a meteor in the most generic sense. The Leonid Meteor Shower peaked a few days prior, and showers typically are completely gone immediately after their peak. This was, however, likely the brightest meteor I have seen. Usually, meteors are quick, faint, and occupy a small space of sky. This one was yellow and wider, longer, and slower than the typical meteor.
In the image accompanying this post, I have attempted to render the observed meteor’s size and approximate location. It was to the right of Orion and well to the left of the Moon. I did not take note of which side it was of Aldebaran, but I am confident it was in that star’s vicinity. In the representation, I purposely chose to show the constellations’ drawing art, since I imagined on the spot the hunter striking at the bull in some manner. If I believed in astrogology, I am sure I would have taken this to be a grand sign of…something.
This article’s image is a screenshot from Stellarium. I used ParticleShop, a plug-in launched via PaintShop Pro, to render the yellow streak demonstrating my best-guess of the meteor’s location and path.