January 3rd, 2008

meteor

Quadrantids meteor shower tonight!

Have you heard of this shower before? It's not very well-known, but it's going to be a fine display with 120 meteors per hour! That's as good or better than most any meteor shower. Drawbacks? Well, tonight's low in Kansas is supposed to be about 15°F with wind-chill factor. The good news is that we in the Midwest are supposed to have mostly clear skies, and the good news for everyone is that the Moon doesn't rise until shortly before sunrise. So get out and watch!

Here's a quick sky-map showing where to watch for the shower (looking to the north-east). Basically, look toward the Big Dipper and you'll see the most meteors:

Click the image to see the story.

Mind you, to see two meteors per minute, you need dark skies (you'll see far fewer from your back yard).

Interestingly, last night I dreamed about watching a curve-ball meteor that descended all the way from the sky to the ground. Let's see if it was prophetic! *g*

So, who would like to do some star-gazing after midnight tonight? Like all meteor showers, it's best at midnight and later as the night side of the Earth turns into its orbit: We hit more space stuff then, much like a car's windshield hits more bugs than the back window. I can even bring along a few telescopes, a couple of chaise-lounges, and some stacking chairs. We just need to drive a little outside of town for decent darkness.

Best,
Chris