December 27, 2006
On the night of October 22/23, 2006, several Orionid meteors were seen in the city of San Diego prompting an associate and myself to head to the mountains to take a good look. Our thoughts were, if they are visible in the city, views from the hills and desert to the east of San Diego wouldn't disappoint us. It took only about 10 minutes to see several "shooting stars," including two huge meteors, possibly fireballs. We saw about 50 of them in a 5 hour period -- frequency of about 10 per hour. The striking streak above was captured about 12:30 a.m. local time (Pacific Daylight Time). Orion meteors seem to emanate from near the constellation of Orion the Hunter. This annual shower of meteors results from the intersection of a long burned out comet with Earth's orbit. The color of a meteor indicates its composition and excitation temperature. Sodium atoms produce an orange-yellow light, iron atoms a yellow light, magnesium a blue-green light, calcium atoms may add a violet hue, while silicon atoms and molecules of atmospheric nitrogen give a red light.
Photo details: Camera Nikon D50 Digital, Lens Nikkor Manual Focus 35mm F1.4 at F2, 30 Second Exposure, Image Cropped