[meteorite-list] Perseids' Shower

From: MexicoDoug_at_aol.com <MexicoDoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Aug 9 13:19:54 2004
Message-ID: <35E4F0B6.3BC3DE9F.0BFED528_at_aol.com>

Dear List,

In case anyone is interested in a summary of some topics that make observing the upcoming and in progress Perseid Meteor Shower interesting, besides the great fireworks themselves, I am posting this message, which I couldn't post on July 30, due to AOL difficulties. This is possibly the finest meteor showers of the year and helps makes the Summer and in particular August, "Meteormonth"... Enjoy !!!

Asunto: Perseids Shower
Fecha: 07/31/2004 10:58:15 AM Mexico Daylight Time
De: MexicoDoug
Para: meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com

I am reposting this since it didn't go through yesterday morning:

>>I was curious if anyone knew when would be the best time
>>to view the upcoming meteor shower next month if a person
>>was located in say.........Newport, Oregon Thanks, Curt (Cj)

Hola Curt,

Any place where especially the Northeast is dark, away from the lights of say...Newport, Oregon and any other town in the hemisphere. You might prefer a hillside with Northeastern exposure, but that is not required, the hillside just makes it harder to fall asleep from being on your back, and the northern exposure just allows you to see the "radiant" so you can be sure of the authenticity of the meteors you see. (Meteors can show up in most of the sky, though all the Perseids seem to come out of Perseus, due to the orbital dynamics as the earth slams into the directional meteoroid stream. And of course a place that isn't too hazy and definitely not cloudy or rainy.

The best time will be, as in the case of most all meteor observing, before dawn and in the absence of much moonlight. So if you can, bring your girlfriend and tell her you want to watch meteors, the beautiful crescent Moonrise and the beautiful half-Venusrise, on the morning of August 12 Thursday Morning, a.k.a. late Wednesday night). The Moon will rise at about 2:18 AM quickly followed by Venus at about 2:37 AM. So you should be settled in watching meteors by no later than 2:00 AM.

The Moon and Venus will be rather close, and thus quite romantic looking, practically plastered on Castor, whose head is the star of the same name in the constellation Gemini, the twin brothers with different fathers. Castor, the slightly dimmer of the two bright head-stars, by the way was the mortal of the commemorated pair, and son of Tyndareus and Leda, while Jupiter (Zeus) was hot for Leda and turned into a Swan and she laid two eggs after being seduced, one from her husband and one from Zeus. They grew up and were inseparable brothers until Idas killed Castor - and Pollux mourned him so much that Zeus put them together again in the stars (and also Castor was given visiting rights on alternate days to Hades to be with his beloved brother).

Perseus' story is similar in that Zeus fooled around with yet another king's wife who then bore Perseus, so step Dad was somewhat miffed with this abuse of divine authority and sent Perseus on what was thought to be certain death to kill Medusa, the ugliest of the snake haired trio of Gorgon sisters that turned one to stone if if you so much as glanced at them. Perseus lived, completed the task (delivering the head as requested as a wedding present), and then killed Cetus or Draco to rescue the beautiful Andromeda, daughter of the vain Goddess offending African Queen Cassiopeia who was chained to a chaise lounge in punishment (The "W"), and each of these characters but the ugly Gorgons got their constellations. Four stars in Perseus have Gorgon names, though, and the rather bright ever changing variable star Algol (English: Ghoul, a.k.a. Gorgonea Prima, a.k.a. Ras Al Gul), the second brightest star of Perseus is supposed to be Medusa's head, and three other stars around it are named Secunda, Tertia y Quart
a, for the three sisters. Algol is famously amazing as it varies its brightness as a factor of about five as it has a fast orbiting star (69 hours) around it that is continuously connected by a sucked particle stream, providing amazing views to ringside observers in their shielded starships. This variability of brightness to the naked eye no doubt led to the "demonic" nature attributed to Algol, the "Demonhead-Star". The "annular" eclipse (when Algol loses 80% of its brightness and Medusa "winks") is visible in Oregon (PDT) from 12:30 to 2:30 AM on August 2 (but full Moon throughout), and again from 9:30 PM to 11:30 PM on August 4 (near full Moon after Moonrise at 10:50 pm, so a respectable 10-10:30 PM is best), if you'd like to warm up, as Perseids are visible pretty much the whole month...even some before midnight when the rotation of the Earth favors seeing more meteors for observers at that time....

The "radiant" is the point where the Perseids seem to "radiate" from, like the hub of a bicycle wheel and spokes, but the meteors can appear in most of the sky. So if you know where the radiant is, you pretty much confirm authenticity that the meteor you see is really a Perseid from Comet Swift Tuttle, and not some other unclassified light:)

On August 12 at 2:00 AM, the crescent Moon (12%) will be a moderate crescent burning in Castor's groin and a half-Venus 60 million miles away from us will be warming his feet. The Radiant of the Perseid shower-in Perseus- at 2:00 AM will be in the same direction as the to be rising Moon, 50? east of due North, and at 50? altitude. In other words northeast and a little more than halfway from the horizon to the zenith. The 0 magnitude bright star Capella (the 7th brightest star in the sky not counting the Sun) in Auriga will also be in the same northeastern direction, if that helps, directly below the radiant, nearly halfway between the horizon and the radiant at 2:00 AM.

There is talk of a ribbon of cometary dust from the parent of the meteoroid stream, the comet Swift-Tuttle giving a special show on August 11, which the two American discoverers saw separate from the comet during the year of discovery in 1862, but this will apparently be visible only on the other side of the world, or Europe at its best.

If you are lucky you could see a meteor every minute, which is about a good as it gets these days. By 3:00 AM the Moon and Venus will be prominent, though the relatively weaker Moonlight won't cause too much trouble for these meteors, so it might get a little better by 4:00 AM if you want to stay up until then, though it will probably be a wash. Sunrise is at about 6:11 AM, so by around 4:30 or 4:45 the astronomical twilight will start to ever so slightly diminish conditions then. Hope this summary contributes to make your observations more exciting...

Saludos y Cielos Despejados,
Received on Mon 09 Aug 2004 01:19:49 PM PDT

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