Sky Wonder

Although it peaked Sunday night, Aug. 12, the Perseid meteor shower sounds like something worth staying up for this week.. Found this piece on

“According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year; and in 2018, they’ll be the best shower of the year. During the Perseids’ peak this weekend, spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower’s peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, Cooke said, but he’s inclined this year to lean toward the night of Aug. 12-13 for the better show.”

We plan to go out Sunday or Monday night after 10:00, find a darkish spot in the country, and follow these guideline I heard at the above website:

– take a comfortable chair or sleeping bag for viewing

– New Moon will set before midnight, allowing for more darkness

– find a spot where you can take in as much sky as possible, with as few lights as possible

– wait ½ hour for your eyes to adjust to the dark (avoid looking at cell phone, as the bright display can prevent your eyes from adapting)

– if you need a light, use one with a relatively low intensity and a red filter

– the show starts around 10 p.m., with #s of meteors gradually increasing as dawn approaches

Have you ever gone out of your way to view an astronomical wonder, or an earthly one?

36 thoughts on “Sky Wonder”

  1. Morning all. I hope you got to see the Perseids BiR! Although I knew they were coming up, I completely spaced it off this week. Rats.

    I’ve gone out of my way often. My father was fascinated by astrophysics so even as a kid, I had exposure to lots of goings-on in the sky. My folks even let me stay home from school the day that Apollo 13 came home. I remember the long wait while the capsule was out of communication coming back through the atmosphere.

    I’ve often set my alarm and gotten up in the middle of the night for eclipses and meteors, although living smack in the middle of the city means I often don’t have the best view. And, of course, I traveled to St. Joseph last summer to see the solar eclipse – that was a fun adventure and I’m already thinking about going to Indianapolis in 2024!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a sad history with this sort of thing. In 1973 I (and the rest of the world) got excited about seeing “the comet of the century,” something called Kohoutek. Kohoutek became famous for being a no-show. Kohoutek is now described as a “failure” a “dud” or a “fizzle.” That wasn’t the only time the wonders of the night sky fell far short of expectations.

    We were, however, thrilled by seeing the Perseid shower from the upper deck of our weird cabin on Lake Superior. The thrill wasn’t just astronomical. That deck was badly designed and built with cheesy lumber. Anyone venturing out on it was at risk of a sudden failure and a quick drop to the rocks below.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We went out at 10:00 last night, drove across the river to the Trempealeau Nat’l Wildlife Reserve, which we discovered is closed after 10. Hmmm, so tried to find a spot on the road away from farm yard lights, which is no small trick. I did see one meteor, and maybe more out of the corner of my eye.

    Also really enjoyed some fireflies, and a hooting owl.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I stood out once for over an hour, until my neck got sore, at a cabin between Duluth and Two Harbors in the middle of the supposed Perseid meteor shower and didn’t see a single meteor. Typically I would expect to see more than that even if it wasn’t during the shower.


  5. i have done lots of night sky stuff

    i was i milwaukee one night when falling stars wire supposed tovhappen so we drove for an hour to rural wisconsin and sat on the hood of the car for a couple hours and laughed and sang. star watching songs and my kids still talk about it
    lunar eclipse are so slow it takes forever but you can look right at it without sunglasses
    i was in chicago for a full eclipse at 1pm
    i was doing job interviews
    i asked to either speed up the interview or put it off til after
    the applicant said hurry it up and so we did and he didn’t get the job
    green black sky was eerie

    midnight space launch at cape canaveral or whatever it was called at the time was way cool
    i’m the only one that remembers that

    northern light with sleeping bags when the occasion calls for it and north dakota montana nights are like my idea of star watching

    i went out in the hippy van with a guy who wouldn’t wear glasses because he was self conscious and thoughrvgalases made him less striking
    i told him i wouldn’t take him to the mountains and have him not be able to see them so he got some glasses and couldn’t believe how much he saw
    shooting stars in north dakota first night out and lots of other cool stuff in the trip
    he couldn’t believe that the shooting stats just happened like that
    my folks had a friend who went to northern minnesota with a group of friends to wait for the spaceship to pick them up. they died waiting. starvation exposure and a messed up premise
    i’ll go watch the show tonight
    thanks bir

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Kids–

    Once again, we consider ourselves so fortunate to live out in the country.
    I go outside every night before bed and spend a few minutes looking at the sky. I think I prefer the stars to the moon.
    I’ve taken some pictures of both. It’s kinda fun. Done some of the 20 minute exposure pictures. It’s just fun playing with the camera settings and trying things. I’d never have managed in a film world. Well, I guess I would have but I’d have spent a lot of money developing bad photos.

    Kelly was out on the deck Saturday night and saw several shooting stars. I was looking in the wrong place. I was in front of the house looking ESE. The Persied’s were NE.
    We have too many trees on the North side; hard to see much.
    Last night we both went out on the deck, but it was before midnight and we didn’t see any. I was tired; if I sat out there much longer I was going to fall asleep.


  7. My husband enjoys astronomy and I have looked at some wonders though his telescope, but sleep takes precedence for me. One time a couple decades ago, he did absolutely force me to wake up, get and see the Northern Lights that were happening — which was truly amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My favorite heavenly phenomenon are the Northern Lights. I love them, but a starry night over a vast darkness – such as over Lake Superior – is a close second. Eclipses I find mostly disappointing. After a while I find them boring and my neck hurts, but we have, nevertheless, gone out of our way to view a few. Once, many years ago now, we drove to Northfield to view a meteor shower from the vantage point of our friends’, Mike and Anne’s, place out in the country. There was a lot of time to kill before there was anything to observe, so we lay there on our sleeping bags in the grass sipping single malt scotch and trying to keep the mosquitos at bay until the wee hours of the night. To be honest, the experience made more of an impression than the meteor shower.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your comment about the experience making more of an impression:
      I remember some friends coming out 30 years ago to watch some night time event. I don’t recall anything about that, but I recall one person convinced that there was something living in the trunk of their car.
      They had everyone freaked out and on edge.
      I said there couldn’t be anything living in their trunk.
      We’re all gathered around the car. It’s dark. Maybe I have a flashlight, I don’t recall. Maybe it was just the moon light.
      I unlock the trunk and it pops up that couple inches you know.
      And then I open the trunk real quick like.
      There was a thread from a small blanket stuck to the lid.
      When the trunk lid flew open, this small blanket came flying out of the trunk.
      I’m not sure if It was rigged or an accident.
      I stayed pretty calm (because I was showing what a hot shot I was).
      I remember people screaming and jumping. And then laughing.
      And after that it seems like the rest of the night was pretty dull and everyone went home.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Husband had a bunch of friends drive to Winnipeg in January, 1979 to watch the solar eclipse. It was very visible there. It was really cold, too.


    1. when you drive from madison to winnipeg it’s best to go via north dakota because if you go straight north into canada you have to smoke all your dope before you cross the border
      if you go through north dakota you get that while extra day to smoke it

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Two Harbors is on the edge of one of the butter zones for northern lights. Saw them all the time in my childhood. Remember out working in the early dark of that area in winter and having the northern lights overhead.
    I remember also one of the lesser known meteor showers which come in later June, the Botids. We used to catch lightening bucks and watch bats fly and watch the Botids. I wrote a piece of fiction about an old woman and a little girl called “Piddling Under the Botids.” Despite being fiction about nothing to do with me, it evoked so many joyous memories from older times TH.

    Liked by 3 people

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