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From: TerryMoselaol.com
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 18:29:26 EDT
Subject: Perseids, BBQ, IAA on Radio Ulster

Hi all,
 
1. I've already seen a few early Perseids, and the shower is now building  up 
nicely towards its maximum on 12 August. That's predicted for August 12d 13h, 
but as  the peak is fairly broad, plenty should be seen on the nights of both 
August  11/12, and 12/13. In good conditions, we should see more than 50 
meteors per  hour after midnight on each  night.  
And this year is quite a good one,  as the First Quarter Moon will set about 
local midnight, leaving the  most productive late-night hours free of 
moonlight.  
The radiant is near the border between Perseus and  Cassiopeia, not far from 
the Double Cluster, and any meteor coming from that  area of the sky in the 
next two weeks is very likley to be a Perseid,  particularly if it's quite a 
fast one. 
The radiant is over 30 degrees up in the NE  by 10 p.m. (twilight), and 
fairly good rates should be seen from the onset of  real darkness, with best rates 
in the hours after midnight,  probably highest for us in the hour before dawn 
twilight on the  12th. 
By next night (12/13) the maximum will be past,  but you should still see 
plenty throughout the night is it's  clear. 
And reasonable rates should be seen, especially late in the night,  any time 
from now until about August 14, although by that date the Moon will be  
getting rather bright. You'll see most meteors by looking about 50 degrees above  
the horizon, and about 40 degrees on either side of the radiant: the area about  
the 'Handle' of the Plough, or the Square of Perseus, for a rough  guide. 
As always, you need to go to a dark-sky site to see meteors  properly! From a 
large town or city you'll probably only see a few; whereas from  a really 
dark site, say just before dawn on the 12th (after moonset) you could  see about 
70-80 per hour! 
Please send all your reports of meteors seen to me, and to Andy  McCrea 
andrewmccreaa.freeserve.co.uk  for 
STARDUST, and to the IAA website: 
(www.irishastronomicalassociation.com)  or  iaa2000btinternet.com 

2. All are welcome at the IAA 'Perseids BBQ', on the evenings of 11/12  
and/or 12/13 August, weather permitting. This will be held at the Big Collin  
picnic area on the B 94, Ballyclare to Broughshane Road. It's just on the North  
side of Big Collin hill, about 5 miles N of Ballyclare. (That's in the  triangle 
between Ballymena, Larne and Newtownabbey.)
   It's a proper picnic area with tables & seats, and  parking. Park your car 
by reversing in at right angles to the road, so you can  drive away again 
without blinding others with your lights. And don't leave the  car in reverse 
gear or the reversing lights will come on with the  ignition!
   It's totally free: we supply the cooking facilities - you  bring your own 
food, drink, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses etc. We'll start  cooking about 
7.30 p.m., finishing by about 9.30 p.m. to allow for cooling down  & clearing 
up before observing.
  For meteor observing just bring your eyes, warm clothes, a lounger  or a 
waterproof mat & sleeping bag, and a flask for later on if you want.  Bring a 
notebook & pape, or a dictaphone, if you want to record your  observations. Try 
photography too if you like: full details are in the July  issue of STARDUST.
   If you want to do some telesopic observing as well, fine:  there won't be 
much to see apart from the usual items until Mars gets up to a  fair height at 
about 02.00.
  It will be a 'red torch only' rule from darkness onwards, so you  don't 
ruin others' dark adaptation.
   WEATHER: If it's clear we'll be there on Thursday 11th.  If it's totally 
cloudy we won't. If it's partly clear we'll probably be there  for the BBQ 
anyway. If it's only slightly clear, ring me on my mobile 07979  300842 any time 
from 6.00 p.m. onwards (NOT before then please!) and I'll try to  advise.
   The same rules apply on Friday 12th. If by great good fortune  it's clear 
on both nights we'll be there on the Friday evening too! 
 
3. Two well-known local astronomers, both IAA members, will be  appearing on 
the news & current affairs programme "Seven Days" on Radio  Ulster from 1 to 2 
p.m. this Sunday, talking about the future of space  exploration (obviously 
tied in with the Discovery mission), the new planet, etc.  One is Yours Truly. 
The other is a certain Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of the  Astrophyics and 
Planetary Science Division at QUB!
   I don't know how much of the programme will be devoted to  those topics, 
but listen out for the expert's views anyway. I'm sure Alan will  say something 
too....
 
;-)
 
 
Clear skies,
 
Terry  Moseley

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