Awesomeness
The community of all things totally awesome.

Perseid Meteor Shower

3 Ratings: 5.0
Meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle

The Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the … see full wiki

1 review about Perseid Meteor Shower

This week you probably had meteor particles for lunch.

  • Aug 17, 2009
Rating:
+5

 

Something strange happened this week….I spent every night outside looking up at the sky. I was one of the many (I presume) that decided to take part in the annual Perseid meteor shower viewing. Every August, like clockwork, the Earth intersects with debris trains (comet dust that has been abandoned around its orbit) and creates a light show in the sky.

Who doesn’t love wishing upon a “falling star” with the tiny hope that some galactic higher being will wave a magic wand over you, making all your dreams come true! Fairytales aside, it really is fun to anticipate and watch.  In the paper, I read that the best viewing time for the shower would be between one and two in the morning (though viewing could start earlier).  I set up camp in my front yard with about six other friends around 10:30pm. Between Adirondack chairs (perfectly inclined for star gazing), blankets, a fire pit, Concha y Toro wine, beer, and an assortment of nibbles, we were set for a show.

We were originally positioned towards the north-east sky. I did see two or three meteors between 10:30-11:30p.m., but had I blinked (which most of my friends did), I would have easily missed them. Fortunately, good company encouraged us to remain diligent in our meteor gazing quest. Around 12:30 p.m. (re-positioned with our backs to the moon) the meteors started to fall with increased frequency. They came from all directions, leaving what looked like a jet stream in their wake. On a typical night, I can usually see one or two falling stars, but it was truly awesome to see 30 in the span of an hour. Unlike falling stars that are only visible for a couple milliseconds, these babies were larger, more substantial and seemed to be visible for at least a full second or two.

I had recently visited the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, so my astronomy knowledge was amped up a bit (which made the experience that much more significant and historic). I learned the dust comes from Comet Swift-Tuttle, whose remains appear to shower down from the constellation Perseus as it moves across the northern sky. This dust gets our attention because it moves so quickly through the atmosphere.  My favorite nugget of knowledge: The dust mass is so small relative to its surface area, that small particles can actually fall all the way to the ground. As the New York Times nicely put it, “If you had lettuce for lunch, you probably ate a few.”

If you missed it this year, I highly recommend putting it on your calendar for next August. You’ll need to get out of the city and away from pollution and lights to actually see the meteors (make sure it's a clear night), but the experience is refreshing. Watching countless meteors stream across the night sky makes you feel small, introspective and a bit in awe of this world and galaxy we live in. Plus meteor shower observation is a tradition that has taken place for over 2000 years! It’s cool to be part of something that our ancestors have viewed, questioned, analyzed, and told stories about for centuries.

If you don’t have much patience, I recommend taking a nap and setting your alarm for 30 minutes before prime time viewing. When you are outside, let your eyes adjust to the darkness and keep them trained on the sky. You don't want to miss this show!

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
21
Thought-Provoking
15
Fun to Read
18
Well-Organized
18
Post a Comment
August 17, 2009
@raina1up was telling me about this, but unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to catch it.  Will definitely mark this on my calender for next year and implement your usage of loungechairs, firepit, beer, wine and nibbles!  That photo is absolutely amazing.
 
August 17, 2009
We were going to all lie down at @rainaup's drive way to watch this spectacle, but unfortunately the area was covered with heavy fog!! We were all really bummed, but we had fun nevertheless. Thanks for the review. I'll mark my calendar for next Aug.
 
August 17, 2009
Great review! I'm so in, but do I need to leave Los Angeles to get away from the light and pollution of a city? :)
August 19, 2009
Ha! Yes, leaving L.A. is going to be a requirement! You can always road trip to Minnesota. After all, we will have Brett Favre!:)
 
1
What's your opinion on Perseid Meteor Shower?
rate
3 Ratings: +5.0
You have exceeded the maximum length.
Photos
Meteor Shower
Details
Source: Perseid Meteor Shower on Lunch.com
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
Awesomeness is part of the Lunch.com Network - Get this on your site
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists