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Eranu indeed - you've won tonight's star prize! - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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November 19th, 2002


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05:28 am - Eranu indeed - you've won tonight's star prize!
Maybe a large part of the thrill was novelty from not having done something like this before, but the meteor shower was fantastic.

0338 GMT: the Dickson family set out from home. Mum claims she sees a meteor between leaving the house and getting into the car. I am wearing my pyjama trousers beneath my jeans for extra warmth, which proves largely effective. The downside is that the pyjama legs tend to roll up as I put my jeans back on over them, thus leaving the tops of my legs rather warmer than the bottoms of my legs.
0346 GMT: the Dickson family reach their destination, a dark road south of Middlesbrough. It is just off the B1365 between Acklam and Stokesley, the turn-off marked "Larchfield Community". One day we shall have to investigate the craft fairs and so forth which are promised to lie at the end of said dark road. It is 4.1 miles away, but I'm sure that if you were to look at the seconds which are not visibly recorded on our car clock then you would find that our speed did remain legally below 30 mph. Honest.
0347 GMT: the Dickson family unload and look up into the sky. It's rather cloudier than before - apparently stratus clouds, fairly thin and floaty. They appear to be floating quite quickly considering there is very little wind. The sky varies between about a quarter occluded and 5/8 occluded. The clouds are not generally thick enough to completely obscure the streaks of light produced by the meteors shooting. We all see our first meteor within the first minute or two and are happy. We tilt our heads back, or lie back on the car, and watch. And watch. And watch.
0434 GMT: the Dickson family call it a night and get back into the car. According to my count, I have seen at least 67 meteors over the last 47-48 minutes. Dad reckons at the start, they were coming at a rate of about one per 90-120 seconds. There was a definite gap at about the fifteen mark where I didn't see one for about three to five minutes. They definitely got more and more frequent, with a pronounced peak; there was at least one minute with at least five meteors, at least one two-minute period with at least seven or eight and at least three occasions with two meteors either simultaneously or very close and a third within five or ten seconds of the pair. There were occasions when there were two meteors going in different directions, two meteors appearing to follow each other in almost parallel and one unusually memorable meteor that was visible for over a second and a quarter, maybe a second and a half. Towards the end, things start to slow down back to the one per 90-120 seconds mark. We think about calling it a night about 40 minutes in and definitely call it a night after one particularly spectacular meteor which appears to "pulse" in intensity with two peaks. (Dad reckons it appeared to be coming directly towards Earth - I thought there was a bit of lateral motion, though not as much as all the others.)
0443 GMT: the Dickson family arrive back home, very happy indeed. Easily the best meteor shower that the parents can recall. Sadly, almost certainly the best that I'll ever get to see - but I'm rather tempted to go out with them in future ones just on the off-chance. Maybe we'll go up to see the astronomers gathering in Thorpe Thewles some day for one of the shows and demonstrations that they put on. It was a great show and a wonderfully pleasant surprise that we could all be out together to enjoy it.

A very good night indeed. W00t, as the kids say. W00t. W00tylicious. If you're in North America, particularly if you're on the West Coast where the timescale involved is three hours more reasonable (2:30 rather than 5:30, or five hours away as I type) then you might want to consider going out for the second peak even if you don't regard yourself as generally particularly interested in this sort of thing. This just might be the best meteor shower that Earth gets to see for years and years to come!
Current Mood: wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Current Music: "Why Does The Sun Shine?" - They Might Be Giants

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:buffymaraschina
Date:November 18th, 2002 10:08 pm (UTC)

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I'm on the west coast, and I would so watch, but, as normal for western-Washington, it is pouring down rain. I am really dissappointed to miss it.
[User Picture]
From:huskyteer
Date:November 19th, 2002 11:14 am (UTC)

Peasouper

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Not bright enough to get through the fog over London, unfortunately.

Still, mustn't grumble. I had a superb view of the Perseids over Port Meadow a couple of years ago, until a horse came along and tried to eat me.
[User Picture]
From:leiabelle
Date:November 22nd, 2002 08:52 pm (UTC)

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Out of curiosity, is the song you have listed in Current Music the real title of the song I refer to as "The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas"?

Dang it, now I'll have to listen to it, and it will be stuck in my head for days. Oh well.

*t00bs off*
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:November 24th, 2002 03:49 pm (UTC)
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*turns volume to eleven*

THE! SUN! IS! A! MASS! OF! INCANDESCENT! GAS!
A! GIANT! NUCLEAR! FURNACE!
THAT! BUILDS! HYDROGEN! INTO! HELIUM!
AT! A! TEMPERATURE! OF! MILLIONS! OF! DEGREES! (*rowr rowr*)

I don't normally like this sort of thing, but it's a /very/ catchy chorus - and the sung verses aren't bad either. It loses its way a little with the spoken bits, though.

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