Lunar Eclipse October 2014

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After 7 years of being away from amateur Astronomy, this night I could convince myself to get up early (around 3:00 AM), only to observe the total lunar eclipse and take some photos. My tele-photo lens is not the best possible one you can purchase now, but this lens is perfect enough for a restart in Astrophotography. I was busy taking photos in cold for about two hours; when I came in, I noticed my lens is covered with a thin layer of ice. This Is something to keep in mind for my next attempts! Continue reading

Perseids meteor shower is almost here!

Shooting or falling stars have always been mysterious to human kind. Maybe that is one of the reasons behind making a wish when you see a meteor passing in the night sky. Just in a couple of weeks we all will have the opportunity of making 50 wishes per hour, as the Perseids meteor shower is going to light up our dark skies.

A meteor shower occurs when a stream of cosmic debris called meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds. These particles are usually smaller than a grain of sand, so almost all of them never reach Earth’s surface.

When you look up in the night sky, because of perspective, you would think these meteors are coming all from one point. The constellation in which this point is falling, usually is the rooth of the name of each shower. Obviously for Perseids shower, this point is in Perseus constellation (The Hero). Although all these meteors seem to be coming from one point, they impact the Earth’s atmosphere in parallel. The Perseids are known to be fast and bright meteors with persistent trains. The peak of this shower can reach 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark enough sky. Also, meteors are typically best after midnight, producing the most number of meteors in the hours before dawn, though this year, the rise of moon after midnight will decrease the number of the meteors visible to us. The moon is going to be a waning crescent moon, which would have a little effect on the shower visibility. Venus and Jupiter will be visible near the moon as well, which makes a spectacular scene of its own.

This year it is suggested to observe this meteor shower in the predawn of August 11, 12, and 13. To have a better observation conditions, try to get out of cities, to be away from the glow of the city light and their pollution.

Picture from http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide

Reference: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide

                  http://www.spacedex.com/perseids/