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Category Archives: Meteors

If you have some time Friday night before this (U.S.) holiday weekend, go out to a dark site, away from city lights. The dust trail from periodic comet 209P/Linear may give us a nice show of meteors flashing across the sky.

Unlike well-known annual meteor showers such as the Leonid or Perseid showers, this meteor shower doesn’t happen regularly because this time the earth will be passing through “puffs” of dust emitted by comet 209P/Linear in previous orbits over a century ago and recently steered toward Earth’s orbit by Jupiter’s gravity. The coincidence of Earth’s position and the position of these streams of dust in their own orbit make for a potentially good show. Predictions range from 100-400 meteors per hour, which makes for a good to intense shower.

If you’re serious about making an effort to see this meteor shower, get away from city lights and don’t look at any bright lights for at least 15 minutes to allow your eyes can become sensitive to the smaller, dimmer meteors. The meteors will appear to originate in the north (the radiant point), but should be visible all over the sky. The peak time is predicted to be at 07:00-08:00 UTC — starting around midnight on Friday evening (May 23-24) for the Pacific coast of the U.S. On this evening, the waning crescent moon rises around 2:20 AM, so those of us on the West Coast of the U.S. should have a dark sky for the peak of the show.

Comet 209P/Linear meteor shower radiant location

Click on image for larger view.

Settle into a reclining lawn chair with a blanket and hot drink and enjoy the show. As with terrestrial weather predictions, the shower could be a weak drizzle or turn into a storm. There are no guarantees except one — if you don’t try to look, you’ll be guaranteed to see nothing!

P.S. In the tradition of naming meteor showers after the constellation containing the radiant, the name of this one would be the Camelopardalids — a mouthful which I hope does NOT stick!

 

Expedition: Northern Lights

Results from a trip to Abisko, Sweden to see the Geminid meteor shower as well as the Northern Lights ended successfully.

What started as a normal trip out to the observatory to lie under the stars and watch the annual Perseid meteor shower turned into an adventure!
See the full story at http://astrocamera.net/2012/0811/


Despite moonlight, an active shower made for a nice display on an especially warm December evening.


Good conditions for the Perseid meteor shower allowed me to shoot for two nights.  Although the actual peak of the shower did not coincide with night here (in California), I was able to successfully photograph many meteors.

 
As predicted, the west coast of the U.S. was not the best place to see the narrow peak of activity, but we did have some some increased activity at the end of Monday night (morning of 11/17). I put together a composite shot of the meteors caught on camera and a time-lapse video covering most of the night on my astrophotography page.Don’t miss the separate video of one of the meteors in the corner of the frame which left a persistent smoke trail.