Perseid Meteor Shower 2015

August 13, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Two Perseid meteors, The Double Cluster, and Andromeda Galaxy with the Milky Way. {click the image for a little larger view}

This year seemed as though it might be favored for the year’s premier summer meteor shower.  The moon was not to be a problem and as the night grew near it was going to be relatively clear.  We went out last night around 10 o’clock in the evening and saw a couple of meteors.  We returned at 1:30 am, closer to the peak, and saw a few more.  It was a nice shower…

The Perseids have become a kind of fabled occurrence each summer.  Its advent is heralded on all forms of media with interviews and advice on how best to view them.  All of this fuss raises my expectations of a great shower…and this year’s shower was, in fact, better than usual.  But still not up to the expectations that are raised…

Perhaps it is not the meteor shower itself so much as the occasion to be outside under a wonderful summer night time sky that makes us look forward to the Perseid shower so much.  In that regard expectations are met or exceeded, especially on a night like last night.  It was pleasantly cool and clear.  A few insects were singing softly and the Barred Owls were calling in the ravine south of the house.  Overhead were all of the old familiar constellations and asterisms…The Northern Cross, The Lazy W, and The Big Dipper early with Perseus and its Double Cluster, The Andromeda Galaxy, The Pleiades, and Orion showing up later.  We saw a satellite flare. All put in place around the Milky Way.  This all recalled summer evenings visiting my grandparents in southern Ohio back in the late 1950s, a time when the sky was so much darker.  It recalled evenings years later with friends and our children watching meteors on humid August nights.  Maybe all of that is why the Perseid Meteor Shower is such a big deal each summer.  If you are patient, you even get to see a few meteors…

Nature’s Partner

August 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

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In our part of the country we see our share of fast food litter along the roadways…Burger King bags and McDonald’s French Fry boxes.  Every so often we will see a Starbucks cup or Arby’s bag, indicating that the litterer had been to the city…we don’t have either of those establishments around here.

Earlier this summer, while on a visit to rural Maryland, we went for an early morning walk and were surprised to find a Blackberry box along the road…fast food for an obviously more sophisticated palate.

But litter all the same…

Chasing Fireflies

June 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

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one of the joys of a June evening… {click the image for a larger view}

Lakeside Daisy

May 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

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For Mother’s Day, my wife and I have a tradition of going to the Lakeside Daisy Preserve on Ohio’s Marblehead peninsula. Lakeside Daisies are on the federal list of endangered species and, by some accounts, the Marblehead preserve is the only naturally occurring population in the United States.

This photograph above shows the flowers growing up from a lush green carpet of vegetation but the preserve is situated on an old limestone quarry and the soil is poor. The photograph below is perhaps more typical.

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Naturally Occurring Emoticons

May 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Comet Lovejoy Continues

February 24, 2015 § 2 Comments

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We ventured outside last night to take another look at Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2.  It is easy to find in binoculars just to the west of the Lazy W asterism of Cassiopeia in the northwest sky.  You can see it more easily by looking for the fuzzy turquoise spot just to the left of center in the photograph.  I can almost imagine a wisp of dust issuing up and slightly to right from it {but it could be just my imagination :-) }

When there is a visible comet in the sky we are compelled to go out and appreciate its visit as it tracks across the sky…even on a brutally cold night {-5 º F last night, -13 º F this morning}.

Recurring Questions

February 11, 2015 § 2 Comments

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It is February, so again I must ask the still unresolved question: “How can the longest month have the fewest number of days?”

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