December 18, 2017

19.05.11: “Incoming!” Meteorite Strikes House in Polish Town.

X Marks the Soltmany Fall. (Credit: CIA World Factbook).

Ahhhh… nothing makes the astro-news like a “House-strikes-space rock” story. Amid many dubious claims of low-flying rocks heard over the Chesapeake and striking lawns in New Jersey over the past few weeks, a quiet but amazing story of a meteorite strike came our way from “across the pond…” [Read more...]

Astro-Event: Don’t Miss the Geminids!

Looking Northeast at about 10 PM. (Photo by Author).

   This year, believe the hype; this month’s Geminid meteor shower is a sure bet. This shower is one of the few dependable ‘old faithful’ meteor showers of the year. Peaking on the night of December 13th-14th, this year’s apparition sees a well placed northern radiant rising high in the northeast as the first quarter Moon sets about midnite local. [Read more...]

AstroEvent: A Wild Card Meteor Shower.

Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. (Credit: NASA).

Comet 21P Giacobini-Ziner. (Credit: NASA).

 

   Sure, everyone’s heard of the Leonids and the Perseids, but have you ever stood vigil for… the Giacobinids? Also sometimes referred to as the Draconids, this sporadic shower tends to go unnoticed on most years. Radiating from the circumpolar constellation Draco, the Giacobinids produce a lackluster <5 meteors per hour… so, why the fuss? Well, the Giacobinids have been known to occassionally put on a show approaching 1,000+ storm level activity, most notably on the years 1933, 1946, and most recently, 1998. [Read more...]

Astro-Event: The Perseid Meteor Shower.

 

looking Northwest at about 2AM. (Created by the Author in Starry Night).

looking Northwest at about 2AM. (Created by the Author in Starry Night).

 

   This week sees a yearly summer astronomical event that may be termed “The old faithful of meteor showers;” the Perseid meteors. Other showers are often fickle, on and off events, but the Perseids routinely perform with zenithal hourly rates around 60 per hour or about one swift moving meteor per minute. Like the Mars email hoax, the Perseids also have a knack for generating a media frenzy around August, forever disenfranchising hoards of would be astronomers with promises of “the meteor storm of the century!” every year… [Read more...]

Astro Event of the Week; November 17th-23rd: The Leonids.

Hang on for one the biggest, baddest meteor showers of all; the Leonids are scheduled to peak this year on the morning of November 17th. radiating from the asterism known as “the Sickle” in the constellation Leo the Lion,  the Leonids are debris left over from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Most years, the Leonids are feeble, only generating 10 meteors per hour, but every 33 years or so, (most recently the 1998-1999 seasons) this shower becomes a true meteor storm. Will the Leonids produce this year? The only sure way to tell is to keep an eye on the sky the early morning hours this week! The waning gibbous Moon may thwart some of the fainter meteors, but check it out and note what you see, none the less!

This weeks’ Astro-word of the week is Bolide. A meteor becomes a bolide (think “blow up”) when it explodes in our atmosphere… and impressive sight, indeed!

AstroEvent of the Week: October 20th-26th, 2008. The Orionid Meteors.

Brace yourselves… meteor season is now well underway. Fresh off the tail of the elusive Draconids early this month comes the Orionids, a decent shower emanating from the shoulder of Orion, near the star Betelgeuse. This shower is due to peak the morning of October 22nd, producing several swift meteors.

[Read more...]