Tag Archives: Astronomy

Get Out: Leonid meteor shower 2009 to peak early Tuesday morning

Posted by GeoT

“We’re predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the U.S. and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia”

One of the best annual meteor showers will peak in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and for some skywatchers the show could be quite impressive.

The best seats are in Asia, but North American observers should be treated to an above average performance of the Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting. The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning – between 1 a.m. and dawn – regardless where you live.

The Leonids put on a solid show every year, if skies are clear and moonlight does not interfere. This year the moon is near its new phase, and not a factor. For anyone in the Northern Hemisphere with dark skies, away from urban and suburban lighting, the show should be worth getting up early to see.

“We’re predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia,” said Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. Other astronomers who work in the nascent field of meteor shower prediction have put out similar forecasts.

Urban dwellers and suburbanites will see far fewer, as the fainter meteors will be drowned out by local lights.

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White House to Throw Star Party Wednesday


20 telescopes will be set up on lawn for attendees to gaze at moon, Jupiter

OBAMA/MSNBC—President Barack Obama will welcome skywatchers to the White House Wednesday for an evening of stargazing with the first family.

A group of professional and amateur astronomers will set up more than 20 telescopes on the White House lawn during the presidential star party to mark the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009), a celebration of the 400th anniversary of famed astronomer Galileo Galilee’s first use of a telescope to observe the night sky. President Obama, his family and a group of local middle-school students are expected to attend.

OBAMA/Top targets on the celestial menu: The craters and mountains of Earth’s moon, Jupiter and its own moons, and other stars and objects.

The White House star party will begin Wednesday night at around 8 p.m. EDT with a kickoff address by President Obama to be broadcast live on NASA TV. It corresponds with World Space Week, which began Sunday and ends Oct. 10.

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