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Perseid Meteorwatch 2013

Perseid Meteorwatch – Saturday 10th to Monday 12th of August 2013

Perseid Meteor Shower

Artists Illustration of perseid Meteors Credit: Meteorwatch

The Perseid meteorwatch 2013

The Perseid meteorwatch 2013 starts on Saturday 10th and runs each evening until Monday 12th of August 2013 @VirtualAstro  with the help of many more people, will be holding a Twitter #Meteorwatch for the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Everyone is welcome to join in, whether they are an astronomer, have a slight interest in the night sky or have a passing interest and just wonder?

The Perseids are the highlight of the astronomical calendar and a must see! They are ideal for those who want to see a meteor/ shooting star for the first time.

Read the rest of this entry »

International Space Station – UK ISS Passes August 2013

UK ISS Pass details for August 2013

ISS

Long Exposure photo of a visible ISS pass Credit: Mark Humpage

The International Space Station (ISS) is back over UK skies with some great passes during August 2013. There is a special bonus this time as the passes take place during the Perseid Meteor Shower -  you may see shooting stars too!

The ISS is the largest Space Station/ laboratory ever built orbiting the Earth, it can be spotted with the naked eye at certain times as it orbits the planet at 17500mph at an altitude of roughly 200 miles.

Spotting the station is very easy and you don’t need any special equipment, only your eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Easiest Guide To The Perseids Ever!

A bright fireball meteor on August 1, 2012. Credit: John Chumack.

 

Originally posted on Universetoday by Virtualastro

This will probably be the most simple and easiest guide to viewing the Perseids and other meteor showers you may possibly ever read. The reason why it is so simple is when you are outside you want to concentrate on looking for meteors and not worrying about technical details, which are unnecessary for the casual observer.

First, a LITTLE about the Perseids: Read the rest of this entry »

UK ISS Passes Over The Meteorwatch Period

Long Exposure photo of a visible ISS pass Credit: Mark Humpage

Please see:

ISS (International Space Station) UK Pass details for Christmas 2012

 

It’s meteorwatch and as well as shooting stars from the Perseid meteor shower, we can see some excellent International Space Station (ISS) passes alongside the celestial fireworks. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s a Zenithal Hourly Rate? Meteor Shower Terminology 101.

Doubtless you’ve heard astronomers and meteor shower observers kick around terms such as “bolide,” “sporadic” and “Zenithal Hourly Rate” when it comes to showers like this weekend’s Perseids. Like any field of endeavor, these terms and phrases and help to describe what we see (or expect to see) and aren’t just designed to make us unpopular at cocktail parties. Here’s a quick rundown on terms that should be in your meteor watcher’s lexicon; use em’ to impress (or annoy) your friends while you watch for this weekend’s Perseids;   Read the rest of this entry »

Night Sky Guide August 2012

Constellations, deep-sky objects, planets and events, Tonight’s Sky, Highlights of the August Sky Read the rest of this entry »

The Perseid Meteor Shower 2012

Raining Perseids

Image Credit :- Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Perseids are one of the most prolific and best-known of the meteor showers and can be seen in late July and through August each year, with the maximum activity on or around 12/13 August. One advantage of the Perseids shower is that it happens in the warmer weather of Summer, which makes it ideal for anyone interested in seeing their first meteor. You can see a meteor at any time of year but, for a day or so around the date of maximum, there may be a ten times better chance of seeing one. Read the rest of this entry »

Perseid Meteor Photographed from the International Space Station (ISS)

Credit: NASA @Astro_Ron

What a “Shooting Star” looks like from space Taken yesterday during Perseid Meteor Shower by @Astro_ron on board the International Space Station

#Meteorwatch Competition

Faulkes Telescope

WINNER @bethlovescake

Win a chance to have Nick Howes (@NickAstronomer on twitter) equipment consultant for Astronomy now image your favorite object using the almost Hubble sized mirror of the amazing Faulkes Telescopes. One in Hawaii one in Asutralia…the choice is yours?

He will even process the image and submit it to the Astronomy Now magazine gallery.

For every Perseid meteor spotted and tweeted over the next two nights for the Meteor Map, each tweet will be entered into the #meteorwatch competition and the winner randomly selected.

So don’t forget to tweet #meteorwatch, 1st part of your postcode, Country code and how many meteors you just saw.

Share your #meteorwatch experience and have fun :)

Robotic Telescopes

Faulkes Telescope operates a network of research class robotic telescopes. Currently there are two telescopes, one in Hawaii and the other in Australia each with mirrors nearly the same size as Hubble costing £5,000,000

2011 © Copyright Faulkes Telescope Project, official partner of Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network

Meteors Streaking Across The Sky

 

Meteors streaking across the sky are an amazing sight.  Every time I see a meteor is a thrilling moment.

 

I’m not a professional astronomer or even a specialized expert.  I’ve just been watching the skies for meteors and showing others how to spot them for a long time.  I particularly enjoy helping people who have never seen a meteor before experience their first sighting.  My greatest success is watching the Perseid Meteor shower together with my kids while we were camping in the mountains together.  It is an emotional memory that we’ll share all our lives.

 

Watching meteors is special because it truly takes no special equipment whatsoever.  Telescopes or cameras just restrict your field of view – for best viewing simply lie back and enjoy the sky in front of your own eyes.

 

Meteorwatch itself is special for a lot of reasons.  It is a world-wide event of professional and amateur astronomers getting together to share the heaven’s most showy display of the year.  It’s an opportunity to collect real data that may be useful for astronomers to work with to increase our understanding of space.  For me, meteorwatch is a chance to share my excitement with others who have never seen the beauty of a meteor flashing overhead.

 

Our goal for meteorwatch is to increase the odds for everyone to find meteors.  Meteorwatch occurs August 12 through August 14 to correspond with the Perseid Meteor shower.  The Perseids are a predictable shower that comes every year.  In fact, meteors from the Perseids have been observed for about 2000 years already!  The meteors are frequent and fairly bright, so it’s likely that you’ll be able to spot one if you go out prepared.

 

The first step of being prepared is that you need to find the darkest place you can find, as far away as possible from lights that will disrupt your night vision.  If the moon is out while you’re observing, try to block it as best as you can with trees or a hill so you don’t look at it and ruin your night vision.  If your night vision does get disrupted, you will not be able to see the dimmer meteors at all, so keep your eyes up and don’t pull out your phone to tweet every few minutes.

Credit: [email protected]

It’s true that Perseid meteors will likely come at between one and two meteors every minute, but you won’t be able to see that many because most of them are dim and washed out by city lights.  The darker it is, the more meteors you will see!  When I’m in a reasonably dark area near the outskirts of my city I’m happy to see one meteor every five minutes or so.  If you can’t get out of the city, you may have to wait longer because you will only see the brightest meteors.  There are plenty of sightings from the heart of cities, so it’s not impossible, just more difficult.  It’s certainly worth an attempt if you can find a park without lights or some other dark area near you.

 

The second step is to make sure that you’re comfortable while waiting.  A good chair that supports your neck while you look up is helpful.  Even though the Perseids occur during summer, the nights can get quite chilly so dress warmly and bring something warm to drink.

 

The third step is to keep it an enjoyable outing.  Some people like to go out alone and listen to music while waiting.  That’s great too, but I usually tell first-timers to go out in groups.  I especially encourage people to take their kids out.  Young eyes may see phantom meteors at first, but once they get the hang of it they’ll spot meteors too dim for you or I to spot any more.  Kids are fantastic at spotting meteors and it encourages them to be interested in the world around them.  Besides, who wouldn’t appreciate a late night out once in a while?

 

The most frequent question I get asked year after year has been, “Where should I look in the sky to see the meteors?”  In the past I’ve tried to describe how to find the constellation Perseus, but it’s rather unnecessary.  Accustom your eyes to the dark, and after you’ve seen three or four meteors you should be able to figure out where Perseus is in the sky all on your own!  It’s most important to look up, be relaxed and patient, and the meteors will dazzle in front of you as long as you are willing to watch.

 

Unfortunately, we don’t all get clear skies.  Some of us are clouded out and have no chance at spotting meteors above us, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.  Follow the #meteorwatch hashtag on twitter for tips, pictures, radio observing and to share your experiences with other enthusiasts around the world.  Go to www.meteorwatch.org for news and information and be sure to follow twitter.com/VirtualAstro for fantastic coverage of the Perseid Meteor shower direct from his Astrobunker.

 

Mark Zaugg is an amateur astronomer and enthusiast who particularly enjoys introducing people to the excitement of seeing a meteor in person.  You can find him at twitter.com/Zarquil