Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Starry Starry Night

Everyone should see shooting stars during their lifetime.

They are wondrous.  Little bits of magic, remnant of the beginning of time.

So, I pass on this email to you...

Found at this website:  http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/11jul_greatperseids.htm?list747735

July 11, 2007: 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 hope you get to check them out, and see some of the magic the Universe puts on display for us, now and again.

be well,
Dawn

13 comments:

dwhee70041 said...

Dawn,
I will certainly be watching.  We have a GREAT view of the sky up here at 7200'.  Thank you for the "heads up".
Smiles,
David

jckfrstross said...

great:) thanks for sharing

Deb

coelha said...

Oh great...  I'll be on a plane on 8/12---I hope those things don't hit the plane when they are coming down!!  HA HA HA HA... :)  I remember summer nights as a kid, lying on my aunt's veranda just staring at the sky with my cousins.  If you look long enough you are bound to see something wonderfully strange--oh the memories!  Thanks for reminding me!  Julie

tendernoggle said...

One night me and Danny stayed up all night watching those lights...we layed on the back ogf his truck and later on our picnic table...lol...It was worth every minute of it...a memory I will never forget.
love ya,
carlene

luddie343 said...

Thanks Dawn, great information, and nice to see the proper explanation of what people think are actually "stars" yet by any name they're fantastic  The Perseids are always so incredible.  I'll be out there watching, as usual lol.  xoxo CATHY
http://journals.aol.com/luddie343/DARETOTHINK/  

eml625 said...

Very cool

Ellen

nay0114 said...

I love looking at the stars and moon. You'll have to remind us when it gets closer okay.
Take care, Chrissie

sunnyside46 said...

Thank you
I saw one that was really famous (dont' know the name) but the stars were so bright they actually made shadows as they fell
Caitlin was in 3rd grade and my Girl Scouts and I lay on The Porch of a friends beach house and watched them.
Love
Marti

tenyearnap said...

The Perseids were great last year, too. I recently said something about "shooting stars" to my son and he rolled his eyes and informed me that they are not stars and went on to explain meteors in the earth's atmosphere, etc etc etc. Jeesh! Once, I pointed out "the first star" and told him to make a wish and I was told "That's really dumb, Mom." (sigh) --Cin

gazker said...

If you want to see billions of stars and shooters too. Go on a cruise up the Nile. Lay on the deck at night, with the deck lights off. There is NO light at all, except for the light from the stars, which light up the desert.
All along the Nile are tiny little mud huts where people live with just candles burning in their windows.
Just don't eat anything for a week cos all us passengers shit through the eye of a needle the whole trip. The veiw from the pan wasn't so good!
Gaz ;-)

chat2missie said...

I actually see pretty many shooting stars.  At least a couple a year.  Guess i'm one of the lucky ones.
Missie

ksgal3133 said...

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

Hugs,
Gretchen

deshelestraci said...

I love the meteor shower that happens in August.  One year I was a camp counselor in UP,UP, UPstate NY.  Less than an hour from Canada.  We sat out and watched.  There were so many shooting stars we lost count.
Traci