Perseid meteor shower: What to know if you want to watch in BC - Canadanewsmedia
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Perseid meteor shower: What to know if you want to watch in BC



The Perseid meteor shower is a veritable symphony of shooting stars, and an an annual treat for stargazers and skywatchers.

The sky is expected to light up with between 50 to 70 of the bright flashes per hour, as Earth passes through the debris trail of the comet Swift-Tuttle.

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This year’s event is expected to be unusually spectacular, because there will be almost no visible moon in the sky and because Earth will pass directly through the centre of Swift-Tuttle’s dust cloud, said Leigh Cummings, Vancouver Centre president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC).

Here’s how to see and photograph the Perseid meteor shower on Aug. 12-13

Those particles, ranging from dust specks to fragments the size of a pea, will tear into Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of up to 50 kilometres-per-second, burning up and creating a visible light show.

“They’ll be a streak of light that will travel across very quickly, so you’ll see this flash of light going across the sky,” Cummings said.

“A larger one, you might see some colour, you might get some burning of the oxygen and stuff in the air, you’ll get greens and that. And some of the really big ones, you’ll see a bit of a trail after. Those are quite spectacular.”

WATCH: Perseid meteor shower lights up sky

How to watch

Earth is already making its way into the the cloud of debris, but the event is slated to peak between Saturday night and Monday morning.

Aspiring stargazers should find a flat place, away from bright lights or urban centres, one that allows them to see as much of the sky as possible, according to Cummigns.

He said viewers should avoid using telescopes or binoculars, which will limit their field of view.

“Wide open fields are the best. The darker the better, the less light pollution the better, so people that are in the interior or maybe up in Manning Park will get the best views,” said Cummings.

Be patient, stay warm, and keep looking up.

What you need to know to enjoy the Perseid meteor shower

Cummings said if you can stick it out, the best viewing is between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.

Start by looking towards the northeast, in the direction of the constellation of Perseus earlier in the evening. As Earth rotates, the best field of viewing will move across the sky, Cummings said.

Viewing will also be best in the southern parts of B.C., where the sky stays darker for longer.

WATCH: Best places to view Perseid meteor shower in Metro Vancouver

What about the weather?

Now for the bad news. Stargazers in Metro Vancouver and some parts of the southern interior might not get as good of a show this year because of clouds and possible rain slated to roll in on Saturday and into Sunday.

“Unfortunately, we do have clouds moving in with an area of low pressure, right on time for the meteor shower. This will be the case for much of the southern half of the province,” said Global BC weather reporter Kasia Bodurka.

“We have the possibility of showers and even thundershowers across the south Saturday night.”

Prince Rupert and a number of other northern areas should have clear skies, and parts of the South Okanagan and Boundary regions should see some clear breaks.

As for that wildfire haze?

Perseid meteor shower: Toronto astronomy professor explains what to expect

“Smoke won’t inhibit the viewing of the meteor shower too significantly this weekend, as it is expected to improve slightly in the interior and in areas that it is thicker, smoke should still be able to shine through,” said Global BC Meteorologist Peter Quinlan.

The worst of the weather is expected to clear up Sunday and into Monday, which is good news according to Cummings.

He said “Zulu Hour,” the absolute peak of the event, is slated for the earliest hours of Monday morning.

“If you’re not a working person on Monday morning, you could stay up Sunday night into the wee hours of the morning and catch just as good, maybe even a better view,” he said.

“Especially if it’s after a rain storm, the sky will be a lot clearer, the air will be clearer.”

WATCH: Perseid meteor shower lights up sky around the world

Star parties

If you’re looking to take the show in with a crowd, there are several events scheduled around B.C. on Saturday and a few into Sunday and Monday.

On Friday night, Simon Fraser University’s Trottier observatory hosts its regular Starry Nights sky-watching event.

On Saturday, the RASC is participating in a special Perseid viewing event at Aldergrove Regional Park from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., which includes guest speakers. The event will permit a rare chance for overnight camping in the park. There is a $2 fee to help cover the cost of portable toilets.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is also hosting a free meteor shower event from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Kopje Regional Park on Okanagan Lake near Kelowna.

There’s another Okanagan event at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Kaladen from 7:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

On the Sunshine Coast, there is an Astronomy in the Park event at the Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.

On Vancouver Island, you can head to the Island Star Party in Duncan from Aug. 10 to 12.

The RASC is also hosting an open house at the observatory in Prince George on Sunday Aug. 12 from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

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Error in major climate study revealed – warming NOT higher than expected




A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.

Just two weeks after publication, the study authors have revised their paper, and now conclude that the oceans are warming fast — but at the same rate as other measurements have found.

A study co-author took responsibility for the error. “I accept responsibility for these oversights because it was my role to ensure that details of the measurements were correctly understood and taken up by coauthors,” study co-author Ralph Keeling wrote in an explanation of the revision.


The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelors degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. He has also written a couple of published papers of his own on climate science.

“I’ve always liked to understand the world and to check whether people’s research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems wrong to me, I like to get to the bottom of it,” Lewis told Fox News.

Lewis said the incident should serve as a cautionary tale.


“I think it shows that the fact that a study is peer-reviewed and published by a premier journal gives very little assurance that its findings are valid,” Lewis said.

“I was slightly surprised that neither the peer reviewers nor the editor had spotted what seemed to me an obvious red flag on page 1 of the paper,” he added.

Lewis said that the reviewers who approved that paper may have looked less closely for errors because the conclusion agreed with the typical belief that global warming is an extreme crisis.


But all involved, including Lewis, agree that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are warming the oceans.

“People shouldn’t be left with the impression that the errors in this paper put into doubt whether the ocean interior is warming. It clearly is wholly or mainly due to human greenhouse gas emissions,” Lewis said.

The study co-author who took responsibility for the error also made that point.


“The evidence for ocean warming continues to be supported by millions of temperature readings throughout the oceans made by the international Argo network of sensors,” Keeling told Fox News.

The Argo network of sensors consists of nearly 4,000 floats around the world that observe the ocean. The study done by Keeling and his coauthors attempted to estimate ocean temperatures a totally different way — “by using measurements of atmospheric oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) … which increase as the ocean warms and releases gases.”

Keeling said that such a study still had some value.


“Our study still also provides independent evidence that the ocean is warming. We accept that our method doesn’t determine the amount of warming as precisely as we previously thought,” Keeling added.

Keeling also acknowledged Lewis for pointing out the error.

“The scientific process is self-correcting when errors are made or new evidence is discovered. Hats off to Nic Lewis for his role here,” Keeling said.


While the Earth has warmed — government data show that the planet is nearly 2°F warmer than in the 1970s — researchers like Lewis make the case that climate models are not that great and may overpredict warming.

“Climate science suffers from being politicized,” Lewis told Fox News. “It’s too infected by the idea of consensus and models… warming is likely to be less severe than global climate models say.”

The author, Maxim Lott, is Executive Producer of Stossel TV and creator of He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott

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Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree




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  1. Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree  Gizmodo
  2. Rare microbes lead scientists to discover new branch on the tree of life  Yahoo News Canada (blog)
  3. Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism  Digital Journal
  4. Full coverage

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Cargo ship launch clears crewed mission to space station




FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 file photo, the Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. A Russian Soyuz rocket has put a cargo ship en route to the International Space Station, clearing the way for the next crewed mission. The launch on Friday, Nov. 16 of the Progress MS-10 resupply ship from Baikonur in Kazakhstan marked the fourth successful liftoff of a Soyuz since an crew launch last month. A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on Oct. 11.

Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

MOSCOW — A Russian Soyuz rocket sent a cargo ship on its way to the International Space Station on Friday, a successful launch that cleared the way for the next crew to travel to the space outpost.

The launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 resupply ship from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan marked the fourth successful liftoff of a Soyuz since a launch with crew members had to be aborted last month.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on Oct. 11, activating an automatic rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket’s final assembly.

The accident was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts jettisoned after a launch pad explosion and also had a safe landing. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station.

Since the October mishap, two Soyuz rockets were launched successfully from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia, while a third lifted off from French Guiana carrying satellites into orbit. They were of a different subtype than the rocket that failed in October, but the one that lifted off Friday was the same version.

The Progress ship is set to dock at the space station Sunday, delivering almost three tons of food, fuel, water and other supplies to the crew — NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst.

In a separate supply mission, Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to lift off Saturday and dock at the station Monday.

The current crew is scheduled to return to Earth next month after the arrival of their replacements. American astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko are set to go up on Dec. 3.

Speaking Thursday at the Star City space training centre outside Moscow, McClain voiced confidence in the Soyuz despite October’s aborted launch.

“We trust our rocket. We’re ready to fly,” she said. “I think what we learned from the inside in October was how safe this rocket was. A lot of people called it an accident or an incident, or maybe want to use it as an example of not being safe. But for us it’s exactly the opposite because our friends came home, the systems worked and they worked exactly as they were designed.”

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