Meteorites Tonight!

This is a discussion on Meteorites Tonight! within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Dark Nights for This Year's Perseids Mark your calendar for Sunday night, August 12-13. By ALAN MACROBERT Posted: 2007-08-11 16:48:28 This year the new moon ...

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Thread: Meteorites Tonight!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Meteorites Tonight!

    Dark Nights for This Year's Perseids
    Mark your calendar for Sunday night, August 12-13.
    By ALAN MACROBERT
    Posted: 2007-08-11 16:48:28

    This year the new moon of August comes on Sunday, the 12th, perfectly timed to bring dark, moonless nights around the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Moreover, Earth should pass through the shower's richest part around 1AM ET on August 13th -- so North Americans and western Europeans should have the best seats in the house.

    The Perseids are bits of space debris that were shed by Comet Swift-Tuttle in past centuries and remain traveling more or less along the comet's 130-year orbit around the sun. The particles range in size from sand grains to pebbles, and they have the consistency of dry dirt. As it orbits the sun, Earth passes through this thin "river of rubble" every year in mid-August. Each meteoroid rips into our upper atmosphere at 37 miles per second, creating an incandescent trail of shocked, ionized air. This hot trail, not the tiny meteoroid itself, is what you see.

    The Perseids are one of the two strongest, most dependable annual meteor showers (the Geminids of December are the other; here's a list of all the best ones). The grand Perseid displays of the 1990s seem to be well and truly over, so this year under a dark sky you might see "only" 60 to 90 Perseids per hour between midnight and dawn. Light pollution cuts down the numbers, but the most spectacular streakers always shine through.

    These meteors can flash into view anywhere in your sky, but all of them (if you trace their paths back far enough) appear to diverge from a spot in northern Perseus near Cassiopeia. This is the shower's radiant point. The radiant is an effect of perspective; the particles are actually traveling in parallel through space. Meteors you see near the radiant look slow and short because they're coming at you almost head-on. Those far from the radiant appear longer and faster, because you see them broadside.

    In early evening the radiant is low in the north-northeast, so Perseids graze into the atmosphere over your part of the world at a low angle and you don't see very many. As the night grows late, the radiant rises higher in the northeast, the meteors arrive more nearly straight down, so you see them in greater numbers. By the first glimmer of dawn the radiant is quite high, about 60 up for observers at mid-northern latitudes.

    How to Watch

    Find a spot with an open sky view and no glary lights. Bundle up in blankets or a sleeping bag, both for warmth and mosquito shielding (and don't forget the repellent). Lie back, gaze into the stars, and be patient. The direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, usually straight up. That's all there is to it.

    And don't forget that the shower lasts more than one night. Rates are about a quarter to half the peak for one or two nights before and after. In fact, the shower lasts about two weeks and stragglers have been recorded as late as August 24th.

    Also, not all meteors you'll see are Perseids! In addition to occasional random, sporadic meteors, the weaker Delta Aquarid shower is also active during Perseid season. The Delta Aquarids are slower, often yellower and fly away from a radiant in eastern Aquarius.

    Sky & Telescope's website offers more tips on watching meteors and what causes them.

    2007 Reprinted with permission from Sky Publishing Corp.

    2007-08-02 1739
    http://reference.aol.com/space/skyan...02171109990001

    Josh <><

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    Array Rock and Glock's Avatar
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    Stayed up past my bedtime last night - saw at least 15 or 20 - the wife did better - she didn't nap.....
    Richard

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    Member Array target1911's Avatar
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    WOW I am gald you posted this... I will have to watch tonight.

    ROCK AND GLOCK
    What time did you see them?
    David

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    The first rule of gunfighting should be to know when the gunfight starts - being the last one to get the news certainly won't put the odds in your favor.

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    Member Array Muzz's Avatar
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    I saw one about 10:45 last night. Gonna stay up and watch the show tonight, for sure.

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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    wish I had known about this yesterday. work comes early tomorrow :-( maybe I'll watch some anyway

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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Going out to look in a few minutes....I love watching meteors!
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    Member Array AirMech74's Avatar
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    why does this always happen on a work night?..lol
    Better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6

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    I think I'll go watch too...I'm outta' here...
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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    Member Array AirMech74's Avatar
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    why is everyone saying right now...everything i've read says after 11 or midnight?
    Better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6

    Aviation Machinist's Mate USN 93-97
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    New Member Array Wild Bill's Avatar
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    I just steped outside for a few minutes and saw two rip accross the sky. Was very cool.
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    Senior Member Array Arkie's Avatar
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    And I had to work last night!

    I tried to go out and peek at the sky but there is way too many lights outside.

    But I cannot wait until August 27th to take a look at mars!!!!
    Now that will be a sight to see and it will not happen again until the year 2287.

    And August 28 is a Total Lunar Eclipse! Cannot wait for the one either!

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    Too bad the show didn't start until after this geezer's bedtime.
    "Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual change; but this change is not [an improvement]. For everything that is given, something is taken."
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    Member Array Dihappy's Avatar
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    I had no idea, and i thought i was just seeing "shooting stars"

    I was fishing out on the Frio River last night and caught some good cats as i watched these cool meteoroids.

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    Member Array AirMech74's Avatar
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    i sat out in my backyard for a while, nice and dark and didn't see crap...I saw one small one and that was it...i said screw it and went to bed.
    Better to be tried by 12, than carried by 6

    Aviation Machinist's Mate USN 93-97
    NAF Atsugi, Japan CVW 5
    CV62 USS Independence
    HS-12 Wyverns, VS-21 Fighting Redtails

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