Saturday, August 9, 2014

DIAMONDS IN THE SKY

I am looking forward to the seeing this month's full moon. It's another supermoon and it will be the closest one to the Earth for 2014!

The August lunar perigee only beats out the January 1st approach of the Moon for the closest of 2014 by a scant 25 kilometres.

The real reason I am excited is because the boys and I have been waiting for the next full moon since acquiring  a decent telescope last month from a friend out in St. Bernard's

I have never looked at the Moon or the stars through a telescope. The opportunity has never come my way. 

This coincides with the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks from Monday to Wednesday. Every year in early August, the Earth passes through comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, picking  debris. As the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth, the air is heated to incandescence and we see rapid streaks of light - falling stars!

As a teenager, the Perseid showers were fantastic to watch on those long walks home from my visiting my girlfriend in Little Bay East. The 10 KM dark route home was lit up by the stars and the moon. Johnny, Carl, Jeff and Leonard would take the occasional break, laying on the paved road and watching the night sky brimming with layers of shiny stars, falling stars and the moon in various phases. 

Viewers may see as many as 60 to 100 “shooting stars” per hour on Aug. 12 and 13th. Each streak of light is caused by a piece of dust only half the size of a grain or sand. Occasionally a piece of debris the size of a grain of rice will really liven things up.

As Dorothy said, there is no place like home. Out in Fortune Bay, up at the cabin on the beach at Barrasway Plate, unencumbered by light pollution, the night sky is majestic. I'll just have to make the best of the metro area.

I am hoping to get some multiple exposures of the Perseid meteor showers but the full mood is sure to lighten the skies making the Perseid's tougher to see.

Can't wait to examine the moon! Should be a fun night.








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