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Meteor Showers 95

Nick Davison writes: "This weekend promises another good meteor display with the Perseids expected to be falling at up to one a minute at around 6am PST Sunday morning. The big show of the year, however, is expected to be the Leonids that peak November 18th - they are expected to briefly peak at around 15,000/hour."
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Meteor Showers

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  • by friscolr ( 124774 )
    Yeah, should be some good shows, just watch out for blindness and the Triffids [].
  • so my friends and i went on up to mount baldy here in so cal, and after a good long drive, found a nice spot to sit and chill, just to watch the stars and hopefully see some go whizzing past. only saw a few stars, but there was this coyote or dog or something that came flying around the corner, i swear the thing must have been going like, 30 mph. anyway, not too many meteors sighted between 11 and 12 pst from our spot in so cal (maybe 8).
  • by codetalker ( 245862 ) <> on Saturday August 11, 2001 @09:34PM (#2119057)
    This is a great oppurtunity to make use of that light pollution map that was just posted a couple articles ago [] It's a damn shame that my part o' the map is a big bright white spot. I guess I won't be seeing to many meteors. However, the beautiful colours of all the light bouncing off the pollution in my highly developed area might just make up for it!
  • Saw them driving (Score:2, Interesting)

    by El_Nofx ( 514455 )
    Driving home tonight I saw several shooting stars and meteors. It was quite a nice show . I knew there had to be something of a big meteor shower going on. Read this morning and they had nothing on it. Must of been slacking. Leave it to /. to inform the masses. These are nothing compared to the Northern lights up here in North Dakota. What North Dakota? They have computers up there? YA WE DO, Running water and indoor plumbing too! (ok fine we tore down the outhouse last year)
    • Read this morning and they had nothing on it.

      Perhaps you missed this CNN article [] from August 10th which is currently, Sunday the 12, prominently featured on the CNN Space page?

      Steve M

  • The BBC has an article [] on the topic.
  • Rather than debate the mess by intuition and bravado, how about doing a search? There is evidence that this year's Leonid shower was warned against last year, mainly for satellite electronics ( Space Daily News on debris last year [])

    Also, there have bit hits on equipment such as the Leonardo module which do do damage. This article even mentions what would happen if the hit intersects a space-walker. Kind of like taking one for the team. Space Ref Interactive article on MPLM and some facts on what is up there in the way of protection []

    Kind of interesting. These are small, but apparently anything of even a few centimeters in size is tracked by radar now. And avoided. (Space shuttle article (pdf) on Nasa. Didn't keep the href. Do the search. :-) )

  • Slashdot (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nastard ( 124180 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @10:46PM (#2126149)
    "The sky is falling"

    Typical Slashdot.
  • Someone care to tell me what 6am PST is in GMT ?
  • I have seen last night in urban setting two large
    meteors. After standing there for ten minuetes,
    head looking up, I gave up.
  • Ok. Don't be to quick to flame, because I'll admit it... I am stupid.

    I see these posts on slashdot a lot, about seeing meteor showers etc, but I'm never able to actually see them. A couple times I've made the effort to go outside with some binoculars or whatever and looked at the sky, but I've never seen anything. Am I looking in the wrong place? Am I looking at the wrong time? Does being 20 miles outside of NYC have anything to do with it?

    I'm really interested in space, the sky, stars, but I never get to see cool stuff happening with them. Any pointers? =P
    • Go out around 4am any clear night this week. Don't worry about the peak of the shower. Keep your unaided eyes open and be very patient. Since you're new at this and close to the city, consider 5 meteors per hour a success.

      In the evening this month, the bright orange "star" in the south is Mars. The dimmer one to its right is Antares. Use a sky map [] to identify whatever else you can see. Sky and Telescope has a good general article for beginners [].

    • Have a brew. Go out and look at the stars. Have some patience. The majority seem to move NE->SW at any point in the sky. Keep in mind that these kind of things only make noise on TV and in the movies...dammit
      • Keep in mind that these kind of things only make noise on TV and in the movies.

        Depends on what you mean by "these kinds of things". The large fireball that was seen over Pennsylvania a few weeks ago "[i]n its final moments the fireball created a deafening sonic boom that shook the ground."

        From a report from Sky and Telescope you can read here. []

        Steve M

    • by aonifer ( 64619 )
      Step 1: Go outside.
      Step 2: Look up.

      Seriously, you don't want to use binoculars. The meteors come from all over the sky. Just get a comfortable reclining lawn chair and look up. Make sure it's not cloudy and don't sit directly under a street lamp or anything. And don't expect to actually see one meteor a minute, especially if you aren't in a very dark location or are going out before midnight.
  • by Pat__ ( 26992 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @10:01PM (#2128966)
    I was out watching the shower with a couple of friends and we did have a nice display.

    I don't know when exatly the peak was but we only had a chance before the moon rise (from ten till around midnight local time) and we were not disapointed. frenquency was about a star every couple of minutes, including about 15 with high magnitude and long trails :)

    A couple of tips for the first timers.
    - Get away from the city lights (and pullotion) as much as possible.
    - Have a good field of view because they will be all over the sky not just in the vicinity of perseus
    - Do NOT concentrate at the spot where they will come from (Perseus) rather about 40 degrees away, as odd as this may seem, the shooting stars around perseus won't leave a long trail (they will be coming towards you ) and you won't be seing much of them.

    PS the geeks that we are had to take a laptop to the middle of nowhere with Starry Night on it , as if the real sky was just not enough ;)
  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @08:01PM (#2129784) Homepage
    Will the International Space Station pass through this?

    One of the problems with having such a large contained area in space is that it's that much easier to puncture it. Lots of small holes would be very bad, although I know the odds of that are slim to slimmer. Still, is there a plan in case this happens? I assume my usual "When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout" wouldn't really cut it...
    • I don't know what they do about small debrie but there is a computer that monitors for all large potential damageing impacts that could happen within a 72 hour period around the ISS and a 24 hour period on the space boat.
      If a empact is eminent then they move out of the way.
    • The hitchikers guide cautions: Don't Panic.
    • by Wizard of OS ( 111213 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @08:16PM (#2145574)
      No, it wil not. Meteors you see are actually be little grains of sand, I doubt those will have an impact on ISS. On the other hand, meteor observations is a piece of astronomy that can easily be done by amateurs but that does have scientific value: new models are generated based on the observations, and these models help predict meteor showers (so that solar panels of sattelites can be turned if huge amounts of spacejunk is expected). The perseids are relatively small, members of my local observatory saw 13 in 5 hours yesterday (okay, it was partly clouded). With a huge meteor shower as the predicted leonids (they were predicted to shower enourmously for the past few years, but I didn't notice any of that), things may be different for ISS.
      • IANOMS(I am not a meteor scientist) but...

        Not to challenge your meteor scale statement, but last time i checked, even a grain of sand going at meteor type speeds will cause significant damage..

        They've got a piece of a shuttle windshield that got nailed by a piece of paint down in houston at the johnson space space center..

        Nothing quite like seeing a fleck of paint embedded 2 inches into a "bulletproof" windshield..

    • Hmmm... this reminds me of last weeks discussion of the Gravitational Repulsion Effect [] - if possible, using such a device onboard the ISS would be ideal really.
    • Simple - They (Use thick austrilian accent..)
      "Slime their Tires!" Slime will fix those punctures quick!

      Sorry, but those commercials are driving me nuts!
  • So thats why I saw so many meteors, I almost never see them but last night i say 4 in 5 minutes without looking after them.
  • Out late on a saturday night and I saw the best meteor I've ever seen. Get home and the shower is posted to slashdot. Neat. God it was a great meteor. Nice thick bright trail looked like a fat straight lightning bolt. It was leaving little secondary sparks and seemed to fork at the very end. Beautiful.
  • I can really appreciate this kind of information. I really think that Slashdot should keep up on astronomy news, as many astronomers are also nerds. Keep up the good work!
    • I just ran outside to look after reading the article. Although I'm not an astronomer, I also appreciate news like this.

      As of about Aug 11 at 11 PM (GMT-5) in Canada (Southwest Ontario) I'm seeing about 1 meteor every 10 minutes. It's a far cry from the predicted maxes, but then again, the high point has not arrived yet. I live in a rural area, so there's not that much light pollution but still, the current rate is a little disappointing.

  • With a stalled cold front over us, the chances of being hit by one of those things is better than seeing it.

    Or is that the definition of being star struck?

    • Re:Won't see it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by b0r1s ( 170449 )
      How bright would it be anyway? I'm on the west coast, and it SHOULD be clear then, but the show will be competing with sunrise in California, and I'm assuming it will be pretty much impossible to see it here. Anyone know otherwise?
  • Gave it 5 minutes in bare feet on the cold wet grass on my lawn in suburbia, but had forgotten my coffee inside and gave up. A slight cloud haze is reflecting the light pollution. Neighbours probably had more fun watching me. Thanks for the tip, tho! President of the Hard Core Astronomer Club.
  • Any other Bluenoses out there see the fireball? Didn't know what it was 'til the news mentioned it the next day. I was looking in the other direction 'til I heard people a couple yards over going, "ooh, ahh, oh". While I'm askin' though anyone see the fiery plume that went westward near twilight last fall?
  • ...from doing that. My wife and I drove out to Farmers Rd. in Russel-Prescott County (Ontario, CA), parked the car on the shoulder, put a blanket on the hood and watched them fall. They were coming down one every three or four minutes. We had a decent amount of light polution from Ottawa to the West and from the moon from the East, but we were able to see a few really big ones with tails miles long at least. I can't wait for November. :)
  • by mickey knox ( 460146 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @09:11PM (#2145140) Homepage's link for the Perseid meteor shower information has officially been slashdotted.

    You can view similar information (or at least good information on the annual Perseid meteor showers) on []. Yummy tasty.

  • you read this story and you start having flashbacks of laying on your side in the suburbs, in the middle of January, frozen beyond the point of numbness, squinting through a telescope your dad bought you ($age_then = 11).

    In all seriousness, it's good to see headlines like this these days. I often find myself sitting around wondering about the lack of enthusiasm for science (more specificially astronomy) I see in a lot of kids these days.

    Yeah, I know, it's kinda always been that way, but it just seems to get progressively more so these days. I don't mean to sound like (gasp!!!) my parents or anything, but the focus seems to have shifted *inward* (to topics within society and industry) for most yound nerds these days (in pursuit of computing-related topics mostly), and away from *outbound* (astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc). I played with both chemistry sets AND computers as a kid, but now it seems most kids are playing with a WingMan Extreme and their parents' AOL connection instead.

    Now, I'm a computer programmer now myself, but I can recall using DOS BASIC to write galaxy simulators when I was a kid. And before anymore thinks me an old fart dreaming about the Good Old Days, I'm only 20. What's up with this shift, and does it bother others like it bothers me?
  • I was wondering what that wet stuff was getting into my eyes here in the mid-atlantic states ... now if I can just figure out why these turkeys are drownding.

    BAH ! Figures, nothing but blazing heat and humidity for a week, and the one night that it might be neat to look up in the sky, we get much needed rain. Oh well, would rather have the later than the former. Guess I'll wait till November.

  • the Leonids that peak November 18th ... are expected to briefly peak at around 15,000/hour

    Ever since I read about the Leonid storms of 1933 and 1966, I've been waiting to see the next one. I saw a few Leonids in 1998 and 99 but nothing to write home about. Weather was unfavorable in 2000. Why should the 2001 Leonids be special?

    I still like the Geminids (Dec 13) the best. Unlike other showers, the radiant is high in the sky well before midnight. A last quarter moon hinders predawn viewing of this year's Perseids.

    • by mgarraha ( 409436 ) on Saturday August 11, 2001 @09:13PM (#2145142)
      Why should the 2001 Leonids be special?

      David Asher at Armagh Observatory has an explanation and plots [] that answer my question. He and Robert McNaught in Australia have calculated the orbits of debris streams ejected during many past apparitions of the comet. The outer planets perturb each stream differently. In 2001 Australia and Asia should get 15000 meteors per hour from the combined 1866 and 1699 streams. The Americas should get 2500 per hour from the 1767 stream. The 1966 storm was a direct hit on the relatively fresh 1899 stream. They think the numerous bright Leonids seen in 1998 may have been ejected in 1333.

      • Oh, goody, King Ghidora's getting another Leonid event to herald his December return to the silver screen in "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidora: Daikaiju Soukougeki" (see the director's site at for details). The 1998 fireballs (which I got to see) occured less than a month before "Mothra 3: King Ghidora Attacks" was released in Japan. And of course, the 1966 storm occured in the midst of Ghidora's career in the 60's. It seems Toho got their Leonid predictions down to an exact science long before scientists did. ;)

        For anyone who doesn't know, King Ghidora is a gigantic, golden, 3 headed, two legged dragon that is the leader of a race of planet destroying monsters. He comes to the Earth in asteroid form, in order to destroy it. He is credited with destroying all life on Venus (Mars in the American version of the 1964 "Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster"), and attempting to destroy the dinosaurs 130 million years ago (when he was stopped by a time traveling Mothra Leo). His younger four-legged volcanic brother Death Ghidora wiped out Mars, and drove the dinosaurs to extiction 65 million years ago. The Ghidorans are the ancient enemies of Mothra. King Ghidora and Godzilla have been fighting ever since an infant Mothra asked for his help in "Ghidrah, the Three Headed Monster".

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.