Sunday, August 14, 2016

Getting back to normal + Perseids

The weather is starting to return  to normal and we have had a little rain.It's good to see that the hot and humid weather is behind us but for how long? There's more heat moving this way from the central US so time will tell.
All in all,this week appears to be within the normal range for August.

Sky conditions were favorable a few nights last week to photograph the Perseids ,the ISS and some Iridium flares.There were a few very bright meteors spotted and lots of dimmer ones.There has been some controversy over what is a meteor and what is not.Here's a little explanation:

'It's really not that difficult to determine what is a meteor and what isn't meteor to an observer.Meteors usually move extremely fast and disappear quickly.Planes are much slower and usually have blinking navigational lights.Here they generally travel from east to west or vice versa.The ISS is seen as one solid dot of light and is much slower than a meteor.The ISS always rises from a westerly direction...it can be anything from SW to NW, but it's always seen coming into view from the western part of the sky.Iridium flares start as a small,fairly fast moving, dot of light and,after the 'flaring',it returns to being a small moving dot while fading to below the visibility level.Iridium flares are seen travelling N to S or vice versa since the Iridium satellites are polar orbiting which means that they traverse the earth from pole to pole in a continuous loop.Visible ISS passes and Iridium flares are predictable and listed ,location specific,via various apps and websites ( Heavens-Above for one) .Meteor showers are almost always predictable as to their general sky location but where any one meteor will appear at any given moment is basically unpredictable.'

Hopefully this will help night sky viewers / photographers.

So....here's a few pics I took last week:
Two frame composite of the ISS and an Iridium flare.Both were  visible within minutes of each other with the flare being first.

                                                               A small Perseid meteor.


Prior to the photo of the meteor in the pic below,this 'debris was spotted.


The three most common night sky objects for August.


........and just for fun,the Moon....


If the skies are clear this week,here's a few things to look for:


Have a great week!!
-Al

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