[extropy-chat] recap of Perseids: July 23 - August 22; Peak: August 12

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Aug 24 17:11:41 UTC 2004

>Got up at 2:30 a.m. and went outside on the deck to enjoy the showers.
>Unfortunatley I was facing East instead of West, but the sky was overcast
>anyway and only saw 2 little sparks of light when I turned to face the
>right direction.

The radiants of the Perseids generally point to the North-East:


but my family and I saw 'shooting stars' in other places in the sky,
pointing to different directions too. We saw about one every 5-10
minutes on the evenings before and after the maximum (the maximum was
smoked out with the nearby fire, and California was off the track of
the narrow maximum peak anyway). My family learned how to distinguish
between planes and satellites, and I saw my first Iridium flash from
the dark skies at Lake Shasta as well.

My last (serious) starwatching was when I took my Orange Coast College
borrowed Cave 8 inch, f8 Newtonian reflector to the desert at Joshua
Tree National Park frequently in ...  ~1979-1980 !

---> http://www.amara.com/VWTelescope_b.jpg   (A *very* old washed out photo.
Imagine the looks from the other car drivers as I drove my 'scope on the
SoCal freeways.)

My trip two weeks ago to Lake Shasta was great fun to get reacquainted
with the summer sky constellations.

(for Northern Hemisphere viewers)
If there are high mountains around, the first trick is to find exactly
where is West (i.e. where the sun actually went down), then with the
help of Polaris, the rest of the constellations fall into place. My
dad even recognized quite a few constellations from his navigation
classes decades ago.

>(I miss going with friends to star gaze. :-(   Haha - just thinking of
>dragging friends out of bed or driving to a far location half asleep.  It's
>really about location, location, location.)

If the location is not ideal for star watching (Rome is terrible), at
least most of the planets and Moon are visible. A good pair of
binoculars can see a fair amount of detail.

(hoping she can convince the American University of Rome to
buy a portable Celestron/Meade 'scope for her to use in her

Amara Graps, PhD             email: amara at amara.com
Computational Physics        vita:  ftp://ftp.amara.com/pub/resume.txt
Multiplex Answers            URL:   http://www.amara.com/
"If you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into
you."  - -Nietzsche

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