Monday, August 10, 2009

Make a Wish

I look forward to August each year, though not for the extreme heat or even the start of school. Ok, I do look forward to the start of school. It gets the kids busy again instead of wandering aimlessly around the house looking for something to battle the boredom. I anticipate August each year because it is the time of year when the Perseids meteor shower arrives. If you look to the northeast after dark, you can see up to 60 meteors per hour. The moon is particularly bright right now, so you just have to check and see what you see throughout the night, but the best time is supposed to be at 2am.

John Denver wrote Rocky Mountain High about this meteor shower. "You can see it raining fire in the sky." I love to go camping during this time, but rarely get to because of work. Last night I awoke between 2 and 3am and went to check the sky. Had conditions been more favorable I would have gotten in the hot tub and watched the heavens. As it was, the moon was bright through an overcast sky, conditions which make it impossible to see any stars or meteors.

You can be assured I will be checking the sky the next few nights. I'll set my alarm for 2am on August 12th. That is the peak of the showers. I'd love to be out on my parents porch watching the meteor shower. There are very few lights out there.

On an interesting side note, when a meteor goes through the atmosphere it leaves a trail. Ham radio buffs and others can bounce signals off that trail for extremely long distance communication. There are so many meteors all the time that there is an industry around this phenomena that tracks and uses these trails to transmit condensed packets of information using computers and radios to receiving stations around the world. Just a bit of trivia.

Don't forget to make a wish,



Inklings said...

A few years ago the girls and I went out on the front lawn and quite a few neighbor kids joined us as we watched that. Evreyone huddled in blankets because it was chilly, and I went in and made everyone a mug of hot chocolate. One of my fun memories.

Amber said...

thanks for the tip, I'll have to keep my eyes out and try to catch some of those. And you totally should do a late night hot tub/meteor shower watch, that sounds like the perfect evening :D

Nene said...

Make sure you wake me up at Mom and Dad's - I want to go out on the porch and watch too!