Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Perseid Meteor Shower

I wish I could somehow orchestrate a huge blog meetup this Thursday. Tap into the science fiction of Star Trek to transport whoever wanted to come see the Perseid meteor shower with me that evening.

The Perseids are a meteor show that comes about because of Earth's orbital progress through a comet's debris field (in this case, it's comet Swift-Tuttle). They're called the Perseids because they seem to emanate from the constellation Perseus, which is also known as the Seven Sisters... and some of you may be amused to note that the name of this constellation in Japanese is Subaru... which is why the Subaru logo has seven stars in its design.

I LOVE meteor showers. I'm a big old geek. Astronomy fascinates me... I'm far too mathematically challenged to deal with the physics of the science, but I love thinking about the stars and planets, and our place in space (hey, that rhymed!). I'm one of those weirdos that VOLUNTARILY goes to an educational planetarium show, just because I love looking at the night sky so much.

And then add in the excitement of a meteor shower... which is, basically, a whole night of guaranteed shooting stars... and I'm in heaven (no pun intended). Every shooting star is a wish granted, a little magic sprinkled into the world, and man do I ever need some magic this month.

I know a great place to watch it, too. There's a little turnoff on highway 276 just before you get to Caesar's Head state park. It's a really fun twisty-turny-windy road that goes up and up and up through the mountains... although I do prefer driving during the day because the scenery is incredible. At night, though, there's no lights or any cars on the road, and once you get to Bald Rock, you can see for miles in three directions.

Here's a picture of the view from Bald Rock: 

It's the perfect place for stargazing... I went there last December when the Leonids came to town. It was amazing, I saw a fireball in the sky. I also made a hyoooooge thermos of hot chocolate (like, a damn half gallon of hot chocolate - I swear!) and when we got too cold we made a fire on the mountain and ate s'mores and drank hot chocolate and my God, weren't we the kings of creation on that particular evening...

Ah, pardon me, I'm rambling... I'll get back to writing about writing tomorrow, I promise.


Unknown said...

Meteor showers are awesome. Actually, most phenomenon going on up in the sky put on an excellent show.
Thanks for bringing it to our attention and I wish you luck and fun with your star gazing.

Jemi Fraser said...

Meteor showers are incredible - there's something so magical and awe-inspiring about them.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think it would be awesome! I'll be in the NC mountains Thursday night - wonder if I can see it from there?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

This sounds incredible. I'd even stay up past my usual bedtime of 9 p.m. just to watch it with you.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds fascinating! Sign me up - I'll go geek out for the night with you.

Hart Johnson said...

I would TOTALLY be there if there were insti-transport! I love meteor showers, too... astronomy AND astrology. And I like Io because it's covered in mice *shifty*

The last time we tried to watch one here it was July and we couldn't tell what was falling meteor shower and what was fireflies, so your plan to get out of town (and away from bushes where those horny bugs have to be so flashy) is a good idea!

B. Miller said...

If only I could figure out how to teleport you guys here!

Cassandra - you're most welcome! I hope you find a good place to watch it.

Jemi - I totally agree. I'm always captivated by them!

Diane - I'm sure you could see them if you found a dark enough spot! Where in the mountains are you going to be? It shouldn't be hard to find a good place to watch the show. Even if you just pull your car over on one of those long stretches of highway that cut through the mountains, like on 25.

Karen, check this out - http://bit.ly/ae2hnS it says there's a show early in the evening too! :D

Alex, you do a great Mr. Spock imitation. ;) Us geeks gotta stick together!

I bet you still had a blast, fireflies and all, Hart! Maybe you'll get a chance to see a few good meteors this week.


Sounds very interesting and a thing a friend of mine is interested in. Thanks for sharing.

True Life and Fiction said...

Just remember that the formula:
Force is equal mass times acceleration is just a simplified (or non-quantum) version of,
Energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum. or E=MC2.

Is that geeky enough for you?