Thursday, August 13, 2015

You know it's mid-August when...

...It’s time for the Perseid meteor shower! I got up at 4 a.m. this morning and went up to the Roundtop’s north parking lot to watch the Perseids.  Wow!  What a show!  For once it was clear and no moon was up to brighten the sky.  Orion, that familiar winter warrior,  was just above the eastern horizon.  The milky way stretched the length of the sky.

I saw lots of meteors—one almost large enough to call a fireball, several really good “ordinary” meteors and lots of little ones.   In the 45 minutes or so I was there before dawn intervened and ruined the viewing I probably saw 35-40 meteors.  If I’d brought something to lay on I could have seen more of the sky at one time and likely found even more. It was the Perseid show I’d seen in years.

...I have to wear my headlamp in the mornings when I walk the dogs again. The days are growing shorter.

...The thistles are blooming and the American goldfinch are enjoying the riches.  Pokeweed berries look fully formed but are still green—it’s not that late in the season just yet.


Scott said...

Though my wife Kali wanted me to wake her up at 4 a.m. (a near impossibility under the best of circumstances), I demurred and stayed asleep through the Perseid shower last night. We are so close to Philadelphia that the Perseids in the past have been no-shows because the sky is so back-lit. The Milky Way? No way this close to the city; I've never seen it here in 27 years. So, I hope I wasn't shortsighted when I slept through the shower last night; I've just been skunked too many times in the past to try it again. I'm glad you had a great night. Kali and I did see the Perseids (and the Milky Way) as you described one August when we were in graduate school and took an alpine ecology field trip to the wilds of Wyoming. During that trip, we rowed out onto a glacial tarn every two hours and collected plankton samples from varying depths to plot vertical plankton migrations over the course of 24 hours. We were there during the height of the Perseids and it was a show neither of us will ever forget. In addition, it was freakin' cold at night, and that's something we'll never forget, either. Water left in the rowboat between sampling trips froze during the night.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: Even here on Roundtop, it's only about every 4-5 years that I get a decent viewing of the Perseids. Often, it's cloudy or more frequently, the moon is up. Even this year I had to quit watching around 5 a.m. as just the barest start of dawn was enough to dim the viewing, though when I walked the dogs just 15 minutes later i still needed a headlamp to find my way outside around the cabin.