08-07-2002, 10:15 AM
181 pts: Ambassador of Goodwill
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: northeastern Illinois
That's a GREAT site, Betsy--thanks!
And for other stargazers, from Space.com
The annual Perseid meteor shower has begun in modest fashion and will soon start building toward a peak Aug. 12, when as many as 60 or more shooting stars could be visible each hour from the Northern Hemisphere.
The Perseids are not as spectacular as the November Leonids, but they are dependable. Nearly every year they generate a shooting star per minute at their peak.
Weather permitting, this will be a good year to look for the Perseids, because the Moon will be near its new phase, leaving the skies at their darkest. The best viewing times run from Aug. 11 through Aug. 13.
For city dwellers whose view is hampered by bright lights, only the brightest meteors can be seen, so a trip to the country is the only way to get the full effect of the Perseids.
Perseids are tiny things, ranging in size from sand grains to peas. The material was shed long ago by a comet named Swift-Tuttle. This comet, like all others that pass through the inner solar system on their orbits around the Sun, is slowly disintegrating. Over the centuries, the comet’s crumbly remains have spread all along its orbit to form a moving river of rubble millions of miles wide and hundreds of millions of miles long.
Earth’s orbit carries it through this stream every August. When a particle strikes the planet’s upper atmosphere, air friction vaporizes it in a quick, white-hot streak.
Technically, the peak occurs in the afternoon of Aug. 12 in North America. Meteors can only be seen at night, however. The best views will come late Sunday, Aug. 11 into the early hours of Monday. The shower should remain strong Monday night and into dawn on Tuesday, Aug. 13.
"Rates from rural observing sites should approach and perhaps even surpass 60 Perseids per hour during the last few hours before dawn on Aug. 12," said Robert Lunsford of the American Meteor Society.
I've begun range-of-motion excercises so ah don't get a crick in my neck from looking skyward!
:: There is more to life than increasing its speed. (Gandhi) ::
:: Be careful of your thoughts, they may become words at any moment. (Iara Gassen) ::
:: "Perfectionism is self abuse of the highest order." (Anne Wilson Schaef) ::
:: "Life is change; how it differs from the rocks." (Jefferson Airplane) ::
:: "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." (Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910) ::