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Showing posts from August, 2015

Another Annual Trip to Mt. Piños Is Done

Every summer I try to get up to Mt. Piños at least once. Although it's 130 miles from home and 30 miles further from home than my observatory, the 8,300-foot peak is a great place to escape the desert heat and enjoy a change in scenery.

This time around, wild fires in various areas of southern California yielded some hazy skies and the breeze was quite strong all night, but it was still very pleasant. With a nighttime low of 56F and an SQM reading of 21.55, I'm not complaining.

Here are some images from my one-nighter...

Perseid Meteor Shower Arrives

The annual Perseid meteor shower is upon us as it is every August 11th-ish. While the actual peak this year is expected on the morning of Thursday, August 13th, the Perseids are known for putting on a decent show for days leading up to the peak. The coincidence of the new moon makes the 2015 shower well-positioned to be an impressive one.

Watch this space for photos!

So what is a meteor shower? Every meteor shower is the result of Earth passing through the debris field of a comet. That means that every meteor shower is associated with a specific comet. In the case of the Perseids, the culprit is Comet Swift-Tuttle, which has a 133-year orbit and most recently went around the Sun in 1992. As a comet approaches the inner solar system it warms up and begins to expel gas, dust and small bits of debris. While the comet continues on and returns to the outer solar system it leaves behind a trail of debris. Since there is no air and wind in space (in the traditional sense) to blow away the tra…