Have you ever seen a “shooting star?” If you haven’t, you’ll no doubt have read articles imploring you to go outside and experience a “shower” of meteors.
There’s no such thing as a “meteor shower.”
Meteoroids don’t behave like that. “Shooting stars” are caused by Earth’s atmosphere colliding with clumps of dust left along its orbital path by a passing comet. They look like streaks and they last around a second, depending on the “shower” in question.
“Shooting stars” are sudden events that can happen anywhere in the night sky, but they’re sporadic. They rarely happen together. For instance, you might see one out of the corner of your eye and, five minutes later, see another one in a completely different part of the sky. Many of them you will miss. There are never two or three—or more—“raining down” at the same time, as composite photographs would suggest.
Besides, when you read that a “meteor shower” like the Lyrids, Orionids or Geminids could have “up to 150 shooting stars per hour,” what it really means that it might be possible to see that many (the so-called zenithal hourly rate or ZHR) in perfect conditions. That scenario is, in practice, impossible to achieve—you would need to be observing the entire night sky constantly, for many hours either side of the absolute “peak” of activity, and in super-dark skies.
However, the biggest factor that determines what you’re likely to see—and one many meteor shower-promoters fail to point out—is the effect of Moon and moonlight.
If there’s a first quarter Moon or anything brighter, particularly a full Moon, in the sky during the peak night(s) of a meteor shower, you can forget seeing anything other than the very brightest of “shooting stars.” And they’re very rare.
If the Moon is big and bright then, in effect, you’ll be observing from under a heavily light-polluted night sky even if you’ve gone to a dark sky destination.
So which meteor showers are the ones to go for in 2021? There are going to be three meteor showers in 2021 that will occur under near-ideal conditions.
The bad news?
The first (and by far the best) one isn’t until August 2021.
The good news?
It’s the Perseids, arguably the most famous and easiest meteor shower to observe in the northern hemisphere … largely because it occurs in the middle of summer when it’s easiest to be outdoors at night.
The best three meteor showers in 2021, these will be best observed after midnight, with the exception of the Draconids, which can be observed right after dark.
1. Perseid meteor shower 2021
When: Thursday/Friday, August 12/13, 2021
Moon phase: 23%-lit crescent Moon
2. Draconid meteor shower 2021
When: Friday/Saturday, October 8/9, 2021
Moon phase: 10%-lit crescent Moon
3. South Taurid meteor shower 2021
When: Thursday/Friday, November 4/5, 2021
Moon phase: 0.1%-lit crescent Moon
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.
Elon Musk trolls Biden with Trump line over perceived Inspiration4 snub – CNET
Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and leading orbital travel agent, was feeling a bit slighted by the world’s most powerful man after President Joe Biden failed to acknowledge the company’sthat sent four civilians on a three-day trip in orbit of our planet.
The flight was bankrolled by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who commanded the mission aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, alongside geologist Sian Proctor, data engineer Chris Sembroski and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee Hayley Arceneaux. The quartetoff the coast of Florida on Saturday.
The mission served as a fundraiser for St. Jude, with over $60 million raised from the public so far. Isaacman also pledged $100 million and Musk added $50 million.
When a Twitter user asked why the president hadn’t acknowledged Inspiration4, Musk hopped into the replies.
“He’s still sleeping,” the CEO wrote, in an apparent reference to Donald Trump’s favorite nickname for his former adversary, “sleepy” Joe Biden.
It seems fair to point out, as a number of other Twitter users have, that the president may have a few other things on his plate at the moment, like continuing to manage the response to a global pandemic, climate crisis and various national security threats.
For what it’s worth, NASA administrator Bill Nelson, a Biden appointee, did offer his congratulations to the crew multiple times.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Inspiration4 is the latest in a string ofthis year. Richard Branson flew to the edge of space on the first fully crewed flight of his Virgin Galactic spaceplane in July. Nine days later, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos cruised a bit higher with three other passengers on his New Shepard spacecraft.
Unlike those flights, which lasted under 15 minutes each, the Inspiration4 mission was a much more complex venture that saw the four passengers performing scientific research during the multiple day flight as they orbited Earth over 40 times.
15 photos of last night's stunning 'Harvest Moon' over Victoria (PHOTOS) – Victoria Buzz
Last night, a full Harvest Moon peaked over Vancouver Island.
Each year, the full moons in September and October fight for the title of “Harvest Moon”, with the full Moon that occurs nearest to the equinox winning the title.
If October’s full Moon occurs closer to the equinox than September’s, the September full moon is then referred to as the Corn Moon.
Since last night’s full moon peaked only two days before the fall equinox, it won the title of “Harvest Moon”.
The moon rose in the southeast and reached peak illumination just after sunset.
Thankfully, the weather was on our side for perfect viewing of the sky last night.
For those who may have missed it last night here are 15 photos of last night’s full Harvest Moon over Victoria:
NASA reorganizes to prepare for future missions to the Moon and Mars – Yahoo Movies Canada
As it moves towards returning to the Moon ideally sometime in 2024, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is creating two new mission directorates. With the move, the agency is separating its existing Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate into the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) and Space Operations Mission Directorate. NASA said it’s making the change in response to the increasing number of missions it’s conducting in low-Earth orbit, in addition to the plans it has for exploring deep space in the future.
It also announced who’s leading those units. Jim Free, a NASA veteran who has been with the space agency on and off since 1990, is the new associate administrator of ESDMD, while Kathy Lueders is taking on the equivalent position at the Space Operations Mission Directorate. Before becoming the first-ever woman to oversee human spaceflight at NASA, Lueders managed the Commercial Crew Program. As for what the two units will do, ESDMD will oversee the development of programs critical to Project Artemis and eventually manned spaceflight to Mars. Meanwhile, its counterpart will focus on launch operations, including those involving the International Space Station, with an eye towards Moon missions later.
According to NASA, the reorganization is ultimately about looking forward to the next 20 years. The new structure will allow one unit to focus on human spaceflight while the other builds future space systems. In that way, the agency says there will be a constant cycle of development and operations to help it move forward with its space exploration goals.
“This reorganization positions NASA and the United States for success as we venture farther out into the cosmos than ever before, all while supporting the continued commercialization of space and research on the International Space Station,” Nelson said. “This also will allow the United States to maintain its leadership in space for decades to come.”
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