Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight, Aug 11

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

This map shows where, in North America, to look to see the Perseids. They seem to radiate out from the constellation Perseus.

The shooting stars we see during a meteor shower are in fact bits of rock, dust an debris falling into our atmosphere. The enormous friction caused by the high velocity of the objects and the density and composition of our atmosphere literally cause the objects to glow and burn as they enter.

The Perseids were once a part of the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits our sun once every 130 years. A piece of it got ripped off during an orbit and every year the Earth passes through the region of space where that debris floats in space. It is beautiful and awe inspiring to watch. I hope it clears up here so I can see some tonight.

According to NASA some 10 to 40 tons (I guess depending upon the day and the density of the material in any given part of space the Earth is passing through) fall into our atmosphere each day. Most of this is invisible to us. It takes one of the bigger showers like the Perseids or the Leonids for us to be able to see some of the meteoric entries into our atmosphere.

This is the universe happening right in our backyards here. If you have the chance, go out and spend a few minutes skywatching. some of the meteors even get bright enough to be seen through the glow of the city. K.

My Life List, Such As It Is

Earthgrazer: Above is a colorful example of a Perseid meteor (from the Perseid meteor shower of 1993). This type of meteor is known as an "Earthgrazer." Earthgrazers enter the sky from below the horizon, skim the atmosphere horizontally and leave a colorful and long trail. Earthgrazer meteors are seen in the early night, just after 9 p.m. Even though the colors in this image have been enhanced, they are representative of the colors seen when the meteor streaked across the sky. 

Image Credit and Copyright: S. Kohle & B. Koch (Astron. I., U. Bonn)

Earthgrazer: Above is a colorful example of a Perseid meteor (from the Perseid meteor shower of 1993). This type of meteor is known as an "Earthgrazer." Earthgrazers enter the sky from below the horizon, skim the atmosphere horizontally and leave a colorful and long trail. Earthgrazer meteors are seen in the early night, just after 9 p.m. Even though the colors in this image have been enhanced, they are representative of the colors seen when the meteor streaked across the sky.  Image Credit and Copyright: S. Kohle & B. Koch (Astron. I., U. Bonn)

Earthgrazer: Above is a colorful example of a Perseid meteor (from the Perseid meteor shower of 1993). This type of meteor is known as an “Earthgrazer.” Earthgrazers enter the sky from below the horizon, skim the atmosphere horizontally and leave a colorful and long trail. Earthgrazer meteors are seen in the early night, just after 9 p.m. Even though the colors in this image have been enhanced, they are representative of the colors seen when the meteor streaked across the sky.
Image Credit and Copyright: S. Kohle & B. Koch (Astron. I., U. Bonn)

I told you, gentle reader, that I would post about my life list when I wrote about getting to see Cirque du Soleil “O” in Las Vegas. There are many topics I want to blog about and I have very limited time right now. Rest assured I have not forgotten about the Golden Age of Science Fiction series I’m doing.

As for my Life List, it is brief really, because I haven’t really sat down and thought about things I want to do while I have the time to do them. There are a few things I’ve wanted to do though and I would like to share them with you so that you might get an idea that life lists are intensely personal, there is no wrong way to do a life list (well unless it includes things that are illegal, harmful to others or cause pain to those around you).

First up: When I was young I read a story about a little girl who got to see the Leonids with her grandmother. Ever since I read that story the idea captured my imagination to see a meteor shower. I’m happy to say that I did. In fact I’ve seen the Peseids several times now.

In the same vein, I saw a comet too. Comet Hyakutake passed very near the Earth in 1996 and was visible to the naked eye. We drove up to the International Rose Test Garden and watched it from there. Which reminds me: Comet ISON is supposed to be visible starting in December of this year and I hope to get a glimpse of that one too.

I would like to see the Northern Lights. Someday I hope to. There have been a couple of times this past year when they’ve been bright enough to be visible quite a ways south but not in my area, or not bright enough to cut though the surrounding light pollution, or it was overcast. One of these days though I hope to see them.

Cirque du Soleil was spectacular and I loved it. You can read my review here.

US National Figure Skating Championships: 2005. I love figure skating and I’ve been to many events but this one was a week of amazement.

Disney Land: It really is the happiest place on Earth.

The Circus: I had never been as a child and I loved going. It was fun.

Write a book: Yes. In The Flesh is one of my books. I’m currently working on the sequel.

I would like to get to Hawaii or some Island in the Caribbean at some point.

Concerts: Erasure, yes. Pink Floyd, yes. Owl City, Yes. David Crowder Band, yes. Newsboys, yes. Sean Cassidy (it was a long time ago, ok?) yes.

I would like to get to Comic Con, World Con and G-Fest at some point. That’s about all I’ve got for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my list and I’d love to hear some of your ideas for your own. K.