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2007 Perseid Meteor Shower: No moon!
August 10, 2007 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Time to make your plans to see the Perseid meteor shower Sunday night/Monday morning. 12 things you'll need. Odds are you won't see something quite as impressive as this "super bolide" in Croatia (watch it to the end), but it will still be well worth your while. A new moon that night means unusually dark skies for the event, so you will have a chance to see even the dim ones, under dark skies.
posted by spock (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
How to photograph meteors. & a recent AskMe on the subject.
posted by spock at 12:41 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


That super bolide footage is terrific.
posted by davejay at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2007


thanks for the reminder!
posted by exlotuseater at 12:49 PM on August 10, 2007


Oh, cool.

We drove out to a dark place a couple years ago to see this shower; we ended up on the side of some tiny road, next to a field of horses. It was so dark we really couldn't see the horses, but we could hear them whuffling and eating. We weren't the only meteor-watchers to have found this raod, since pretty much every inch of horse-poop-free ground was covered with people lying on blankets, everyone going "Ooooh! Didja see that one?" every ten seconds. It was amazing.

If I can stay up late enough this year, maybe we'll try to find that road again.
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on August 10, 2007


13) Snacks

You may get hungry.

14) Alcohol

You may get thirsty.

15) Drugs

You may need to trip.

16) Club

You may need to defend yourself from zombies or hyenas.
posted by quin at 12:59 PM on August 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


In fact friends and I are heading out this weekend to the Black Rock Desert (home of Burning Man) for our annual Perseids Extravaganza! Should be great this year with a New Moon. For those in the area, there's also some organized activites sponsored by Friends of the Black Rock.
posted by elendil71 at 1:03 PM on August 10, 2007


awesome! finally one that works with my weekend work schedule! thanks for reminding me.

also, I'd never seen that super bolide footage.
yikes!
posted by Busithoth at 1:06 PM on August 10, 2007


Yes, here in Nebraska if you drive out of town you can find "Minimum Maintenance" roads (marked with signs). They are roads that no one lives down, so the county no longer grades or gravels them. As a bonus, they often don't have any electrical poles/lines running down them and no farms with mercury vapor lights. You can lay out your tarp/blankets/lawn chairs and not have to worry about anybody coming down the road and running you oever. I do recommend staying close to the car, with the window down, so that if someone should come along you can jump up and hit the emergency flashers to allert them of your presence.

Listen to meteors LIVE: here (thanks NASA!). I've heard a bunch in the past 10 minutes including a really big/long one. If you can tether your cell phone to your laptop/PDA for data access, you could listen WHILE watching, which would be truly geeky.
posted by spock at 1:07 PM on August 10, 2007


Also, check the dewpoints in your area for Sunday night. You wouldn't think you could get cold in mid-August, but if the dewpoint is 68 and the temperature drops to 68 everything gets wet/covered with dew. Blankets/sleeping bags aren't a bad idea on adjustable lounge chairs to keep you off the ground, in that event.
posted by spock at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2007


15) Drugs

You may need to trip.

16) Club

You may need to defend yourself from zombies or hyenas hallucinations.


There, fixed that for ya.
posted by spock at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2007


How do I find people around NYC that may be heading outside the city for this?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2007


(17) Ablative silica fibre loofa
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:39 PM on August 10, 2007


I went outside last night and saw one big red one in the 10 minutes was out. Should be a good showing this year!
posted by Lynsey at 1:42 PM on August 10, 2007


Kingfisher, I'd be very much up for it- but where can an NYCer go that wouldn't be polluted with artificial light?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:52 PM on August 10, 2007


I'm not sure how far you have to go. But I would expect at least an hour upstate. Craigslist has nothing but a rafting trip on the wrong night (tomorrow).
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:55 PM on August 10, 2007


I'd recommend going out about 40 miles east into the Atlantic (that's the direction you'd be looking as the radiant rises). Call Trump and see if the boat is available.
posted by spock at 1:55 PM on August 10, 2007


18) Mosquito repellent, damnit.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:07 PM on August 10, 2007


I'm is Los Angeles... Culver City. Does anyone know if I'll be able to see this? I took (and failed) Astronomy in college and the only things we could see through the telescope were planes landing at LAX.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 2:26 PM on August 10, 2007


Dammit, I am not Los Angeles... I'm in Los Angeles.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 2:27 PM on August 10, 2007


thanks for that super bolide footage. although awesome, a part of me kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought it wasn't nearly as cool as the movie armageddon. the news is gonna have to resort to cgi in a few years, if they haven't already. i guess that's where ruper murdoch comes in, i can't wait for him to start a science station/magazine.

seriously though, is a particular hemishpere better? i'm in minnesota and never checked this out.
posted by andywolf at 3:28 PM on August 10, 2007


okay. if i saw that bolide in person, i'd be freaking the shit o.u.t..
and then i'd feel really stupid, because i would have been convinced that was my last moment on earth.
posted by RedEmma at 3:37 PM on August 10, 2007


So is there any chance people living outside the U.S. might be able to enjoy this? Specifically Europe...
posted by Acey at 3:44 PM on August 10, 2007


Whoah, the Croatian footage is crazy. If I didn't know better I'd have assumed it was viral marketing for Transformers or something.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:01 PM on August 10, 2007


So is there any chance people living outside the U.S. might be able to enjoy this? Specifically Europe...

Yes. Visibility depends on latitude:
With the Moon at waning crescent phase on August 11, observing conditions for the 2004 Perseids meteor activity should be excellent everywhere. Because the radiant is at a high northern declination (+58°), most northern hemisphere observers may expect to see meteors throughout the night. Observers will not want to be north of 60° latitude or so because of the "midnight Sun" in summer. Nor will they want to be below about latitude -32° because the radiant will never rise above their horizon.
This site has a star chart showing the radiant trajectory (the strike line from which the shooting stars seem to emanate).
posted by zennie at 4:58 PM on August 10, 2007


19) Hot tub
posted by MtDewd at 6:02 PM on August 10, 2007


We spent an amazing 3 hours out in the middle of nowhere, seeing stars that weren't supposed to be visible to the naked eye, seeing the Milky Way (I always thought that was a myth, that you could SEE THE MILKY WAY)...

And we saw up to twenty meteors in a single minute. Some even came in pairs or triplets.

I have seen many meteor showers. This was the best by far of any I have seen in my lifetime.
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:24 AM on August 13, 2007


That's awesome InnocentBystander. I was terribly grouchy when the day was overcast, but began to get some hope as things began clearing around 8 PM. We got to view from a rural location from 1 AM to 3:30 AM local time and saw dozens and dozens of meteors. I wish I'd kept a scientific time/count. (We also saw some pairs).

It was a rare, rare night for Nebraska. No wind yet no mosquitoes, no moon and no clouds. I couldn't have ordered perfect conditions. If it had been up to me, I would have stayed until dawn!
posted by spock at 11:25 AM on August 14, 2007


That's awesome InnocentBystander. I was terribly grouchy when the day was overcast, but began to get some hope as things began clearing around 8 PM. We got to view from a rural location from 1 AM to 3:30 AM local time and saw dozens and dozens of meteors. I wish I'd kept a scientific time/count. (We also saw some pairs).

It was a rare, rare night for Nebraska. No wind yet no mosquitoes, no moon and no clouds. I couldn't have ordered perfect conditions. If it had been up to me, I would have stayed until dawn!
posted by spock at 11:30 AM on August 14, 2007


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