Monday, August 11, 2008

Perseids and Planets

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower occurs tonight. The best viewing, here on Bonaire, should be between 2am and dawn, when the moon will have set and the shower radiant will be high in the sky. The sky has been reasonably clear lately, so maybe I'll head out for a look, if I can tear myself away from the live late night Olympics coverage on TV. Ha-ha, that's a good one.

I'll be out on the road by 6am tomorrow morning for our Tuesday group bike ride, so the trusty VCR will be recording any of those great late night Olympics events, like team handball, (Sandra played it while in high school in Monaco) that we might want to see.

I must confess that unlike some friends of ours, I'm rarely motivated to to bounce out of bed and venture outside in the wee hours of the morning in hopes of spotting those all to infrequent meteors. What I will do, however, is wake up and peak out the window just to make sure that some sort of once in a lifetime meteor storm isn't going on out there. That paid off in 1998 when the Leonids produced a display of bright meteors and fireballs that I'll never forget!

The planets are also putting on a good show this week, and it's right after sunset, so I don't have to loose any beauty sleep to see it. Venus and Saturn will be very close together on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Venus is really easy to spot, here on Bonaire, but I might need to break out the binoculars to see Saturn.

By Thursday evening, Saturn will be placed exactly halfway between Venus and Mercury. That should be nice. And then by Saturday evening, Mercury will have moved up to be halfway between Venus and Saturn. If the skies remain clear, I should be able to watch the whole show each evening while cooking our nightly chicken on the grill. Now that's my kind of astronomy!

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