A 16-year-old high school girl who is attempting to sail solo around the world spotted a bright bolide over the Pacific Ocean during the peak of last week's Leonid meteor shower. The International Meteor organization relies on reports just like this from observers in the field....or in this case "all at sea".
Jessica Watson a student from Queensland, Australia, has set off on the adventure of a lifetime, attempting to become the youngest woman to sail solo and unassisted around the world.
Jessica's blog has been quite popular and many people have been leaving messages of encouragement and checking on her daily progress. The plucky teenager has endured a rigorous preparation and good deal of media controversy, but retains a sense of purpose and wonderful support from her family, sponsors and supporters as she reached the first major milestone and crossed the equator in her yacht - Ella's Pink Lady.
Keen to offer my own message of support, I left a comment on her blog regarding the Leonid meteor shower, and suggested if she was looking for activities to keep her mind occupied that she might consider doing a few meteor counts in the night watch.
Imagine my surprise when on the 18th Jessica's lead blog entry commenced with the sighting of a brilliant bolide.
"I'm not much of an Astronomer but with all this talk of meteor showers last night, I was keeping an extra good eye out and did see the most amazing shooting star," Jessica reported.According to Jessica's sked, she was travelling in a north-easterly direction, south of the equator, and west of Jarvis Island near Kirabati - basically in the middle of a Pacific Ocean. While it is impossible to say if it was a Leonid Meteor, it certainly made an impression.
Jessica's account follows:
"It was so bright and big that I was actually a bit spooked before realizing what it was. But I can't tell you what I wished for though!".Many of the visitors to Jessica's Blog commented on it being a good luck "sign" as she crossed the equator.[...]