tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
(240 am update in comments)
(310 am update - Still nothing. Back to bed. Hope you got/get to see something.)

(Update: I had mistakenly mentioned Standard Time before. That's changed to Daylight Time, of course.)
(Update: The reason this may be a one-time event is that the orbit is heavily influenced by Jupiter, and it may not come to Earth's orbit again for a long time.)

(Posted both to tomtac and to callihanians.)

There is a comet that was only discovered "recently". And it has an irregular orbit, somehow.

Naturally, in its wake, it leaves a trail of meteors. Which becomes, when we on Earth come by, a "meteor shower".

That shower is tonight. And what I really am excited about is:

1) This could be so intense it would be a "storm". That is, once one looks at the sky and sees a meteor during this, it will be hard to look away, because there could be another meteor, then another meteor, then another meteor.

2) This is a "new" meteor shower. Not only intense, but the first and only one for quite a while. (See the link here, starting with about the fifth paragraph. Also another link.)

http://www.wral.com/new-meteor-shower/13665098/

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/22/us/meteor-shower/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

I remember seeing a "storm". I stepped outside, and very soon saw that it was a CONSTANT show of meteor streaks. This one they are talking about may have a rate of a meteor every four seconds.

The peak of the storm is between 2am to 4am Eastern time. But in North America, any time after sunset, it is supposed to be a good set of meteors.

It is in the area of the constellation Camelopardis. Between the two Bears.

Facing north at sunset, Camelopardis is just to the left of Polaris, the north star.

When you are looing at Camelopardis, about 930 EDT, then :
o Polaris and the Little Bear are just to the right of Camelopardis and a little up.
o The Big Dipper and the Big Bear is up from Camelopardis.
o Cassiopeia is to the right and down from Camelopardis.
o Most of the way to the left, you'll find Gemini .

During the height of the storm, around 2am to 4am, Camelopardis is below the North Star.

Good Luck!
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
There is what seems to be a naked eye nova to the upper left of Altair, discovered Wednesday. (That is, it is 6th magnitude, a report says it actually is 5th, and now it is reported 4.9 -- nova stars go through an initial brightening phase.)

(6th is the faintest visible to naked eyes, lower numbers means brighter.)

UPDATE: (Also added as comment below)

Thanks, all, for the pointers to other maps and charts. While yesterday was complete cloud cover all day, it started breaking just before sunset, and around 10 pm I did get several good looks at the nova. Binoculars did pierce the thinner cloud layers, and then I could pick out the Delphinus and Sagitta stars (and the nova) with my eyes alone.

The Sky&Telescope page ( http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/Bright-Nova-in-Delphinus-219631281.html ) reports that it had peaked somewhere between 4.4 and 4.5 sometime during the day, and by my look at 10 pm it was back down to around 4.8 .

According to Wikipedia's "List of Novas" page, this is the third (magnitude 4 or better) nova this century. While I had thought of this as a once-in-a-lifetime event, I am now looking forward to the next one.

Thanks again!

From Sky&Telescope:

Bright-Nova-in-Delphinus (near Cygnus the Swan)
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
Lot of youtube videos of the fireball passing through the sky, also of the bang about two minutes later setting off car alarms and breaking windows (and collapsing a factory's roof). Claims of up to 900 people (schoolchildren too) hurt when the windows broke. Schools were closed for the day across the region after the impact blew out windows of buildings and temperatures had plunged in central Russia to -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit)

This is the video that looked scariest, like in a movie. It seems to come right at us, in the first thirty seconds. (I'd have worried about death from gamma rays, too.) (And in the last couple of minutes of the clip, why did the driver decide to race off somewhere, passing cars and Big Stopped Trucks like an insane person? I've heard of people racing after meteors, thinking it will hit not too far away.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZxXYscmgRg&feature=youtu.be

(I know the date and time on their camcorder are off.)

Trying to find the news story in which a Russian politician stated it is a new U.S. weapon. (Update: Got it, see comments.)
tomtac: (Default)
Sitting here watching the Dragon/Falcon launch on NASA Select TV. Nighttime launches are pretty dramatic. This one was pretty, as well.

I would have liked to have known the ISS ground track at the time of launch. I used to have that URL at my fingertips, but haven't checked in a couple of years.  (Got it. The site is N2YO.COM, pretty well laid out -- You can string NORAD numbers together to see Dragon and ISS together.  http://www.n2yo.com/?s=25544|38846 )

Meanwhile, after the visual part of the launch was over (and we only got to watch the Control Center personnel, I used my screen's magnifier to peer over their shoulders at their monitor screens. They have pretty intricate layouts, and I couldn't even make a good guess at what all the tables were showing.

But the big screen on the wall, that was 25% taken up by the NASA 'meatball' Logo.

I am pretty happy with the Dragon program, just impatient for manned launch operations to restart.

Meanwhile, it has spread its 'wings', the solar panels, and is heading to the station.

Go, little robot!
tomtac: "little green feline" (little green man feline)
I get excited over stuff in the sky we can see with our naked eyes. Eclipses are an example -- in the Stone Age, people did not have telescopes, but they could see eclipses just fine.

The best of them all is a good solar eclipse, and in ten years ... August 21, 2017 ... a solar eclipse will be visible from Oregon to South Carolina.

There -is- going to be one next year, August 1, 2008, but it starts on the Arctic shoreline of Canada, brushes the northern shore of Greenland, and heads off to Asia. I am not 100% certain there -are- roads that I could drive up to there, or if I could plan a trip up to that far north.

On the other hand, the 8/21/2017 eclipse will be passing over one of my favorite beaches.

Maybe you'll take a peek at it yourself, ten years from now?

Best regards.

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