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Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 04:18 Edit Quote

Every year at this time the Earth is sprinkled with meteors called the Perseids. A few years back I took time out to sit through the night, away from the lights of the city to watch the meteor shower. I was stunned. I watched from about 11:00 pm through to 4:00am and I lost count of exactly how many I saw, but I'd estimate it to be about 40 or 50 Perseid meteors.

They are called Perseid meteors because they appear to emanate from the constellation of Perseus. The meteors are caused by the debris from an old comet called Swift-Tuttle and we get to see them when the Earth passes through this path of debris.

There's much more information here at Space Weather dot com.
If you can, take something to sit on or lay on as looking up at the sky plays havoc with the old neck muscles. A flask of something hot and/or warming is a treat too.
Plenty more information can be garnered at the end of these links too
http://skytour.homestead.com/met2006.html
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/perseids_shower_000809.html
http://www.astronomy.com/asy/default.aspx?c=ss&id=77

I remember looking up at the sky, marvelling at the bright streaks of light zooming to the earth and thinking, those little bits burning up in the atmosphere have been travelling through our solar system for millions of years. From the outermost planets right in to the sun and back out again repetedly for more time than our minds can comprehend. Now they have been caught by the Earth and ignite in a last blast of light, burning up to cosmic dust and I was there to witness the event. Cosmic indeed.

::tao:::: ::cell::

RhyssaFireheart
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Out on the Sea of Madness...
Insane since: Dec 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 07:36 Edit Quote

Ah, thanks for the reminder and the links, Tao. It's been ages since I saw (or had the chance to see) a meteor shower. And those links are some good reading. I now have a good excuse (well, any excuse is good) to stay up late.

_____________________

coeur de feu :: Grimwell Online
Qui sème le vent récolte la tempête!

poi
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Norway
Insane since: Jun 2002

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 09:19 Edit Quote

Thanks Tao!

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 11:39 Edit Quote

Damn it.
I'm gonna miss the shower this year.
Could have camped at my Mom's house in the country with the girlies.
Damn.

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 12:13 Edit Quote

I'm going to try to borrow a camera with a "B" setting for the next couple of days to see if I can capture any good photos of them. My DC, which is really on it's last legs, does not have any shutter control so it's pure luck pointing up into the sky and guessing, yes, I was that fool on the hill stomping around in the middle of the night, cursing the heavens for not performing on cue.
Aye, the moon do be bright tonight too, so there may be some howling to be done tooOOoooooooooOOoooooo

::tao:::: ::cell::

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: San Antonio
Insane since: Jul 2002

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 17:19 Edit Quote

I went out to watch the Perseids last year too and wasn't disappointed, even without leaving the city very far (lots and lots of ambient light). The moon might be a bummer this year though.

I remember when I was younger, lying out on a lawnchair and seeing a huge earthgrazer, one with a massive tail that spread out in several colors and hung in the sky for a couple seconds. I was hooked from then on and try to get out to see all 4 of the big ones in the fall every year now (Perseids, mid August; Orionids, mid-late October; Leonids, mid November; Geminids, mid December).

Here's hoping the weather cooperates for everyone who's going out to watch

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-11-2006 22:16 Edit Quote

It's a bit cloudy here at the moment "le bummer" so it would be really nice if everyone could take a deep breath, puckker up, point ones visage towards the sky in a westerly direction and blow blow BLOW.

Sorry to hear you can't make the watch WarJ, out in the country would be perfect.
I've never witnessed an earthgrazer Lord_Fukutoku, sounds great though. I too became fascinated with "shooting stars" when I was a lot younger. We used to go out for a few days on a narrowboat into the countryside. I only saw half a dozen or so on that day but as you say, I was hooked for life.

All together now Blow

::tao:::: ::cell::

NoJive
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

IP logged posted posted 08-12-2006 01:02 Edit Quote

I'm afraid I was spoiled when back in the late 60's I witnessed what I believe was the Leonid Meteor Shower putting on one of it's all time greatest spectacles.

Even more astonishing perhaps... I watched this in Prince Rupert, a town known for its rain. A clear night in Prince Rupert is akin to inheriting granny's necklace of hen's teeth. But there it was and there was I.... looking up at not just hundreds.... but rather.... thousands of these things screaming across the night sky. It was like watching fireworks and to be quite honest it was downright scarey.

Sure... I'd seen 'shooting stars' before...maybe even 2 or 3 in a single night..... but this was absolute insanity. I was convinced the earth was about to be obliterated...by I don't know what. I was outside from about 11pm until the sun came up. Awe-struck... astonishing.... amazing. No words I'm afraid...just one major mind blower.

This quote from 1833 is pretty much what I saw....

quote:
Henry (1833) observed the
shower from Princeton, New Jersey close to sunrise and noted
that “When first seen by me they were so numerous that 20 might
be counted almost at the same instant descending towards the
horizon in vertical circles of every azimuth or point of the compass
were visible in any one instant.” While the exact meaning
of “an instant” is not clear, it seems probable that this reflects
a meteor rate close to 20 per second. He also notes that a student
outside at 9.5 local (13.4 UT) recorded 1500 meteors “...in
the space of a few minutes....” Taken at face value, and assuming
a minimum of 2 minutes for the observation, this implies a
maximum rate of »750/min or »13/sec in general accord with
Henry’s own observation. These observations (probably the best
numerically available for the peak of the 1833 display) imply
peak ZHRs in the range of 50,000–70,000. This is also consistent
with interpretation of the observation reported by Olmsted
(1834) from Boston almost an hour later of 38,000 as a lower
limit to the peak activity.

The PDF can be had here. Warning!!! It is very dry reading.

http://www.astro.uwo.ca/~pbrown/documents/1999-Leonids-Icarus.pdf

And yes I will be outside tonite. =)

___________________________________________________________________________
The goal in Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy moly what a ride!"

norm
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: somewhere in the great indoors
Insane since: Sep 2002

IP logged posted posted 08-12-2006 01:59 Edit Quote
quote:

Tao said:

The meteors are caused by the debris from an old comet called Swift-Tuttle and we get to see them when the Earth passes through this path of debris....




So at first glance I read the name of the old comet as Swift-Turtle and for some reason I think that would be such a cool name to have.....

I may just have to change my legal name to Swift-Turtle. It has quite the ring to it and I bet if you got pulled over for speeding no one would have the heart to actually write Mr. Swift-Turtle a ticket for going too fast!

JKMabry
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: raht cheah
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 08-13-2006 00:32 Edit Quote

I watched the persied shower last year with my little boy on the day and time that it was supposed to be at it's most intense. We got up at something like 3:00 am and stumbled out to the country and laid at a farm gate on a blanket staring in the direction of Perseus waiting for the much hyped shower. It turned out to be a shooting star every 10-15 seconds. We were disappointed as we always thought the term shower to mean just that after we got over that disappointment it was quite acceptable way to spend a few groggy early morning hours. I ended up runnign over my coffee thermos, one of those stainless vacuum jobs that keep it hot all day, that was sad.

quote:
cursing the heavens for not performing on cue



We got so bored of shooting stars that we asked God for a "just a double" and we got it instantly! Then when the fun of that wore off we asked again, same result! Then when that wore off, we went for eggs! and a new thermos for coffee

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-13-2006 16:11 Edit Quote

Ah, glumsville Arizona (Not too sure where I get that kind of saying from, [somthing]ville Arizona. I know it must be from the last 20 or 30 years of American TV, but can't remember what.)
The clouds did not lift for long enough for me to catch any astronomical delights this time. I hope someone else managed to get a peek.

NoJive, I think looking at the records that 1966 was the great show that you may have seen. It sounds truely awesome.
Norm, I did a quick google for "swift turtle" and there are some spelling mistakes there where people are actually talking about the meteors. There is also a racing horse too
Jason, I agree the term "shower" is rather misleading for most of the annual events like this. Once you get past the silly hype of the astronomical media agents it still is a great event I think. It's also great to hear that Jacob has been to see them too,.

Sorry got to go Liverpool are playing Chelsea (won't give away the score so far don't worry J ) Come on captain fantastic.
Heh ~From the heavenly to the sublime~

::tao:::: ::cell::

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: San Antonio
Insane since: Jul 2002

IP logged posted posted 08-13-2006 18:13 Edit Quote

Bummer you didn't see any Tao. Not a cloud in the sky here, but not a very impressive show either this year. I took about a half hour drive with my girlfriend away from the city until we were far enough from the ambient light of the San Antone.
We saw one less than 30 seconds after stretching out in the back of the truck, and I started thinking this might end up being a good show. After that though, it was one every 8-9 minutes. One good one lasted just over a second and had a really wide tail, which ended up being the highlight of the evening before the moon rose. All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening though

For those who want to see a "shower," check this page out: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/milan_video_011121.html

quote:
See about 4.5 hours of the 2001 Leonid meteor shower, as captured by Wil Milan from northwestern Arizona, near the Burro Creek Wilderness. His video is compressed into about 35 seconds.


Be sure to be paying attention at about 25 seconds

--

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.

NoJive
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

IP logged posted posted 08-13-2006 20:25 Edit Quote

Lord_F: Which link on that page? I just get....

quote:
We’re sorry, but there is no SPACE.com Web page that matches your entry. It is possible you typed the address incorrectly, or the page may no longer exist. You may wish to try another entry or choose from the links below, which we hope will help you find what you’re looking for.



___________________________________________________________________________
The goal in Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy moly what a ride!"

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 08-14-2006 00:11 Edit Quote

The link loaded without any problems for me NJ, I was using Firefox at the time.
Thanks for the link Lord_F, that's a pretty good set up they had to record it too. I've been reading up on using CCD cameras in conjunction with a telescope and/or a camera to photograph the stars and as soon as a big bag of dosh falls out of the sky into my lap, I'm hooking myself up
Some astrophotography and CCD links:
http://skytonight.com/
http://www.starlight-xpress.co.uk/products.htm
http://www.wodaski.com/wodaski/default.asp
http://www.scsastro.co.uk/
http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/low_light.html

There are also some photos of this years Perseids here
Yes it was a bit disapointing with the weather conditions, but on the plus side, my gardens have at last had some good rain after the little English heat wave and near drought conditions we have been having recently.
Bring on the Leonids

Lord_Fukutoku
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: San Antonio
Insane since: Jul 2002

IP logged posted posted 08-14-2006 16:55 Edit Quote

NJ, I was in Firefox too, so I suppose that could have been the problem. Try this one maybe...

Tao, that is a rather impressive setup he had. Just think, you've got a whole 2 months to save up for something before the Orionids are here (or before we're there as the case may be). If you do find the $$ for something like that, would you mind picking one up for me too?

--

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature.



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