Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perseid Meteor Shower THIS WEEK....and Ultrarunning

Via Boing Boing (a remarkable site for those of us with a streak of geek):

Boing Boing points us to (here) where we read:

According to the best estimates, in 2010 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. The best window of opportunity to see the shower will be the late-night hours of Wednesday on through the first light of dawn on the morning of Thursday, and then again during the late-night hours of Aug. 12 into the predawn hours of Aug. 13. The Moon, whose bright light almost totally wrecked last year's shower, will have zero impact this year; unlike last year when it was just a few days past full, this year it will be new on Monday, Aug. 9, meaning that there will be absolutely no interference from it at all.
A very good shower will produce about one meteor per minute for a given observer under a dark country sky. Any light pollution or moonlight considerably reduces the count.

The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yields 90 or 100 meteors per hour. Anyone in a city or near bright suburban lights will see far fewer. [Video: Perseid

However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers. Typically during an overnight watch, the Perseids are capable of producing a number of bright, flaring and fragmenting meteors, which leave fine trains in their wake.

On the night of shower maximum, the Perseid radiant is not far from the famous "Double Star Cluster" of Perseus (hence the name, "Perseid"). Low in the northeast during the early evening, it rises higher in the sky until morning twilight ends observing.

So we'll have 2 chances: late Wed night into Thurs pre-dawn; and again Thurs late into Fri pre-dawn.

Link to Ultrarunnning: one of the best celestial sites I ever saw came one morning, pre-dawn, as I was running the Harshman Road 5 mile loop around my home.  Suddenly a large fireball raced across the sky, leaving a vivid green and yellow trail. 

I was stunned and literally open mouthed in awe at the brilliance and colors.  I mean, this meteor was BIG.  Now, the Perseids are more of the "shooting star" variety of meteor, not usually large or flashy, but who knows?


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