Peninsula: Leonids meteor shower brightens the night

Despite clouds and fog in some areas, the Leonid meteor show lit up the skies over the North Olympic Peninsula early Sunday.

Hundreds of persons dressed in heavy clothes braved 30-degree temperatures to get clear views from the dark turnouts along the road to Hurricane Ridge.

Streak after streak of light shot across the sky as tiny bits of comet debris burned up harmlessly in the atmosphere.

The brightest flares left shimmering, smoky trails that hung in the sky for a few seconds.

The largest fireballs rivaled Venus in brightness, momentarily illuminating objects on the ground.

“I’m seeing more shooting stars in the last hour than I have in my whole life,” said Joanne Phillips, who watched from her hilltop home outside of Port Townsend.

About 20 people drank hot chocolate and ate spicy chili to keep warm as they watched the spectacle at a turnout just below the Heart o’ the Hills campground, almost six miles above downtown Port Angeles on the road to Hurrican Ridge.

“Ohhhhhh, that’s a good one,” said 12-year Michael O’Brien of Port Angeles as one meteor left a glowing trail above the campground that lasted for several seconds.

Michael counted 66 meteors in about 30 minutes

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