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Astronomy For the sharing of astronomical observations by our members with an interest, and pretty pictures for all to enjoy.

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Old Aug 5 2007, 09:15 AM   #1
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Cool Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

From NASA:
Got a calendar? Circle this date: Sunday, August 12th. Next to the circle write "all night" and "Meteors!" Attach the above to your refrigerator in plain view so you won't miss the 2007 Perseid meteor shower.

"It's going to be a great show," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "The Moon is new on August 12th--which means no moonlight, dark skies and plenty of meteors." How many? Cooke estimates one or two Perseids per minute at the shower's peak.

The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is nowhere near Earth, the comet's tail does intersect Earth's orbit. We glide through it every year in August. Tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth's atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light--a meteor--when it disintegrates. Because Swift-Tuttle's meteors fly out of the constellation Perseus, they are called "Perseids."

Note: In the narrative that follows, all times are local. For instance, 9:00 pm means 9:00 pm in your time zone, where you live.


The show begins between 9:00 and 10:00 pm on Sunday, August 12th, when Perseus rises in the northeast. This is the time to look for Perseid Earthgrazers--meteors that approach from the horizon and skim the atmosphere overhead like a stone skipping the surface of a pond.

"Earthgrazers are long, slow and colorful; they are among the most beautiful of meteors," says Cooke. He cautions that an hour of watching may net only a few of these--"at most"--but seeing even one makes the long night worthwhile.

As the night unfolds, Perseus climbs higher and the meteor rate will increase many-fold. "By 2 am on Monday morning, August 13th, dozens of Perseids may be flitting across the sky every hour." The crescendo comes before dawn when rates could exceed a meteor a minute.

For maximum effect, Cooke advises, "get away from city lights." The brightest Perseids can be seen from cities, he allows, but the greater flurry of faint, delicate meteors is visible only from the countryside. Scouts, this is a good time to go camping.
I put the meteor shower on the MoM calendar, so if you want you can sign up for an advance reminder.
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Old Aug 5 2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Hooray: I'll be out (rain permitting). Long time since I was meteor spotting. I think it was the Leonids last time.
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Old Aug 5 2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Thanks for letting us know, Cheryl. I for one will be out there watching the great show!!! I have watched in years past and am awed by it every time.
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Old Aug 5 2007, 03:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

At the summer camp I used to work at I slept on the porch of the tent and it was always really hard going to sleep during the Perseids
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Old Aug 5 2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

You live in the most awesome place now for watching them without taking a drive anywhere.
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Old Aug 5 2007, 05:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Cool. Unfortunately I probably won't be able to see anything. Not because of the lights in the courtyard, but because I usually can't see anything smaller and dimmer than the moon. The only reason I saw comet Hale-Bopp is because its tail was still visible. I've never managed to catch meteors, even when I know to look.
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Old Aug 5 2007, 06:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I will have a good view, also. I live way out in the country with no city lights. We have laid out in the back yard to watch.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 03:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I hope the boys and I will get to see it despite being in the city.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 03:26 AM   #9
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Unhappy Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I will bet that it'll rain that night, or be overcast. I know it still does not get dark enough for a good show.

I will hope some good person will have pictures of it.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 08:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I'm sure there'll be some great pictures online, like at APOD. I don't begin to have the right equipment or knowledge to take night sky photos.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 11:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Thanks for the heads up. pun totally intended lol. It will be a nice way to end the semester.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 11:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I hope I remember about this, although getting out of the city might not be an option.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 11:05 AM   #13
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I doubt I'll have the energy on the 12th, that's the day I come back from a Re-Enacting weekend, so I'll probably be flat out the moment I get home.

-Sighs- Ah well.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 11:17 AM   #14
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I try to watch for these every year. I've seen only one of the big ones that skip. It was almost frightening, because I didn't know they did that and it skipped 3 or 4 times. It was like a firework that fell on its side. It was beautiful tho. I sure wish the 12th was on a weekend nite instead of a Sunday nite when I have to go to work the next morning. But they do continue thru around the 20th, tho fewer. The first nite is always the best nite to view them.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 11:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Having just re-read Skies of Pern, I'm pretty excited about watching the shower this year. It's been a long time since I stayed up late (and froze my buns off, as I recall!) to watch a meteor shower.

I'd suggest to all Pern and astronomy fans to re-read the first part of Skies of Pern before the shower, to get you in the mood. The first section of the book, before the fireball comes, has folks watching the Ghosts, which is Pern's annual meteor shower.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 04:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Kibbie & will try & watch also. Thanks for letting us know.
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Old Aug 6 2007, 07:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

So glad for the reminder....thanks Cheryl!!

I have gone to several organized weekends of stargazing with professional telescopes....it's called NYAA Starfest for those interested. Unfortunately I haven't been able to make for the past 2 years, but there are several lectures through the day, many stalls at which to buy all sorts of books, equipment, lens......pretty much anything!! It's great for all, including kids. The lectures available cover all levels of stargazing experiance. People from all over attend this event in Ontario....including many from the northern states! It's a great time, and a wonderful learning experiance. (I'm afraid I cannot recall the dates it is being held.....I tossed my info knowing I'd be unable to attend this year!!)
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Old Aug 6 2007, 07:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Quote from British Astronomical Association Journal:-

"Perseids 2007
Active July 23-August 20
Radiant RA 03h 04m Dec +58°

The undoubted stand-out for meteor observers in the summer of 2007 is a very favourable return of the Perseids, peaking on Aug 13d 02h UT in dark, moonless skies.

At this time, just as dawn is approaching for observers in the British Isles, the Perseid radiant will be high in the eastern sky and from locations away from artificial light pollution rates of around a meteor per minute should be attained.

In most years, the Perseids produce corrected ZHR around 80 at maximum, with rates at half that level on Aug 11-12 and 13-14.

Indeed, watches on any night in the 10-day interval centred on Perseid maximum are likely to be very productive for the patient observer: this is a great time for new observers to try their hand at meteor work!"
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Old Aug 6 2007, 10:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Oh I love getting to see anything in the night sky..other than plane lights going over head...beam me up Scotty...sorry wrong lights in the sky!!!

Thank you Cheryl, We are going to try watching this coming Saturday evening...and see if we can see anything interesting...I think we are far enought outside of the city lights for good viewing. It should be very lovely getting to see these meteors...we have seen a few meteors before down at the beach...but never realized that they were an every year thing.
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Old Aug 11 2007, 07:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

WE were clouded in last night, when I was hoping to see the shuttle and space station in proximity, and tonight also.

I hope tommorrow is clear!
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Old Aug 11 2007, 08:23 PM   #21
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I hope it clears up for you P'ter.
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Old Aug 12 2007, 12:58 PM   #22
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I went out to the backyard Friday nite and saw one immediately! I was tired so I didn't stay out too much longer, only a couple minutes and then went to bed. That was a lucky viewing!
Last nite I went out and didn't have quite the same luck. I was out for about 45 minutes and saw only two good ones. There were a few others but they were on the edge of my vision and so I'm not sure if they were real or just my eyes playing tricks on me. And there were scattered clouds which obstructed my view too. I'm hoping that between 9 & 10 tonite that it's clear and I get to see one of those earthgrazers again. They are beautiful!
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Old Aug 12 2007, 01:27 PM   #23
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I'll be out watching with Jez tonight.

Clear skies, everyone!
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Old Aug 12 2007, 05:17 PM   #24
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Almost dark here and about 95 % cloudy. :mutter: mutter mutter
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Old Aug 12 2007, 05:43 PM   #25
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I'll be out there looking when my 9:00 arrives!!!
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Old Aug 13 2007, 04:58 AM   #26
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I've seen some interesting cloud formations...
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Old Aug 13 2007, 06:55 AM   #27
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I'm just back from finding a nice quiet, dark spot to stargaze. I spent more time driving than sky-watching, but in my 30 min or so of looking I saw around 10 good meteors, and quite a number more that were dimmer and may or may not have been tricks of the eye.

Now I think I shall stay up rather than trying to catch 90 more minutes of sleep before my kids wake up, and enjoy the quiet majesty of the dawn.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 07:47 AM   #28
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I've never yet seen a perseid shower reach the 100 meteor per hour rate that it's meant to. One good one every few minutes is pretty decent going.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 09:15 AM   #29
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I fell asleep

my eyesight went after about 1.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 10:55 AM   #30
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I started at 9pm-ish and watched till about a quarter till 11pm. I saw one earthgrazer, tho it was thru some tree branches. And then saw several good meteors and a couple that I wasn't sure were actual ones or my eyes. There was one odd one. It was just a flash, no streak across the sky. In fact it took me a second or two to realize what it was. It was just above the 'bowl' part of the dipper and I thought it was just another star but it got more intense and all of a sudden, POOF nothing! So not sure if it was a 'head on' meteor or what but something I'd never seen before.
I watch from my backyard, even tho there are street lights and neighboring lights to deal with so I know I miss some of the more faint ones, but I don't drive at nite if I can help it. So the few I get to see are super and it was a beautiful nite out, tho the wind was a little chilly at times. I had the classical blues station on and spent a very relaxing evening listening and watching. Even tho there were a few scattered clouds and the few tree branches to contend with it was a great evening overall.
I enjoyed watching the stars emerge too. They seemed to wake up and come alive in front of me. I had as much fun watching them as for meteors.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 10:59 AM   #31
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Beautiful. I just love to watch this. We usually see it every year. My brother and sis in law were out Saturday night, too, and saw some really bright ones.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 11:03 AM   #32
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I watched for about an hour. Saw some good ones. I kept being distracted by the thunderstorms to the east. they were Really Cool. Then the clouds from those storms moved our way and we lost the sky.

Hubby took out the telescope and we looked at Jupiter and its moons and I'm sure he looked at other stuff while I sat and looked at the sky. I realized that a year ago last night we were in the middle of our move. No wonder I missed them last year, though it does explain why I saw a few as I was driving.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 12:11 PM   #33
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

"I went, I looked, I saw nothing." with apologies to J Ceasar. KICK HIM!
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Old Aug 13 2007, 04:23 PM   #34
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Let's kick Aeolus instead He's the one who should have been blowing those damn clouds away
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Old Aug 13 2007, 07:50 PM   #35
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I think he was blowing them towards us instead. And tonight it's raining.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 09:00 PM   #36
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I went out for about an hour and saw 1. Kibbie & my Mother stayed out longer. Kibbie saw several & Mom saw 1 or 2 good ones. They only stayed out untill 11:30 or so.
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Old Aug 13 2007, 09:50 PM   #37
Kat
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Went out at 11pm nothing.... 3:30 I saw two went got Kayleigh up nothing.... 4:30 when it was supposed to be the most activity nothing.. didn't wake up the kid that time.

We have seen spectacular ones previously Kayleigh was very little and the following day painted a picture of it.
We've always enjoyed sharing astronomical events. We'll be watching the lunar eclipse I'm sure. (clouds allowing)
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Old Aug 13 2007, 10:26 PM   #38
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

We went out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday after got home from a concert.
On Saturday we got to see a few of them...and my first one was the most noticable..the rest were in the catagory of *Did I really see that or was that just wishfull seeing* We got very sore necks...but had a great time. Thank you for getting all of this started Cheryl...especially for the reminders!!!
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Old Aug 13 2007, 10:30 PM   #39
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

Oh no!! I fell asleep REALLY early and missed at all!! Oh well, there's always the lunar eclipse on the 28th, though it will be occuring right through my sunrise. Well, we'll see how it all plays out!!

Thanks for the reminders Cheryl...I found them when I woke up!!
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Old Aug 13 2007, 11:46 PM   #40
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Default Re: Get ready to sky-watch on Aug 12!

I looked for a little while but there is only a small spot of sky available between the trees and none obliged me by flashing over it. Oh well. I've memories of some pretty good shows over the years. on those who did see a few. Tonight it's cloudy but I won't complain. Weve gone 8 days straight with temps over 100F
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