Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Sky at Night (2)

While preparing for our holiday, I looked up what astronomical events to expect and realized there will be a meteor shower next week. Thought I'd give you all a quick heads up!

This is the Southern Delta Aquarids meteor shower which show up from mid July to mid August each year with peak activity this year on July 28 & 29. This shower gets its name because most of the meteors ("shooting stars") seem to come from the constellation Aquarius, near one of its brightest stars, Delta Aquarii. This is considered to be a "strong" shower, which means there are likely to be a relatively high number of observable meteors. What this means is that under "dark sky" locations where there is not too much light pollution, you could potentially see 15-20 meteors per hour with a possible peak of 60.

If you don't want to get up early, you can start viewing after midnight and by 2AM you should be guaranteed to see some streaks in the sky.
The best viewing times are in the pre-dawn hours away from the glow of city lights. Look halfway between the South and Southeast, at between 30 and 60 degrees above the horizon, and if conditions are right you will see meteors fanning out through all compass points from east to north to west with fewer seen heading southward.

The best way of viewing meteors is actually with your peripheral (side) vision as the eye's retina is more sensitive to low light conditions this way. So relax in a good recliner, get your blanket and a hot beverage (even on warm days it can get chilly in the early hours). Just open your eyes wide and don't try and focus on anything in particular. Enjoy the stars and the stillness and nature's fireworks show. Maybe not as fancy as a 4th of July, but still magical!!

Happy Viewing!

6 comments:

Adventures In Waitressing said...

Thanks for the heads up! Have yourself a great vacation.

The Real Life Drama Queen

Jen said...

Thanks! My boys will be absolutely delighted. We get our sleeping bags out and do stargazing. YEAH!

anno said...

We're starwatchers around here, too -- thanks for the notice of coming attractions!

Worker Mommy said...

Oooohh my kids would just love this!

Thanks

Rebecca said...

wow - a meteor shower - and on my birthday too!

anno said...

Just stopped by, even though I know you're gone. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday, looking forward to your return.