Tag Archives: Meteor

CNYO Observers Log: Pulaski Middle School Science Club, 20 November 2013

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

CNYO members Larry Slosberg, Ryan Goodson, and myself hosted our first science club observing session of the year at Pulaski Middle School (my third year doing so, Larry’s second year, and Ryan’s first).

The cold weather kept the crowd to about 25 (early-October sessions having maxed out at around 50 previously) students, teachers, and parent chaperones (no doubt to keep our astronomy humor clean) for an evening that gave us about 1 full hour of good observing and 30 minutes of increasing cloud cover and decreasing body temperatures.

2013nov30_pulaski_larry_small

Larry getting ready. Photo by Ryan Goodson. Click for a larger version.

In a shift from the usual procedure, we held the entire event outdoors. Powerpoint slides were replaced with red flashlights and two of our CNYO brochures (How The Night Sky Moves and Guide For New Observers) to direct a walk-through of the Night Sky while it was clearly visible (with extra thanks to the Pulaski Middle School staff for turning out the football and tennis court flood lights). The first half-hour was also used as a Q+A session. One long-lived, slow-moving meteor coaxed a 10 minute discussion of meteor showers and motion in the Solar System. A few quick beams from our green laser pointers were used as a springboard to discuss both vision (our sensitivity to green and our insensitivity to red, the differences between rods and cones, dark adaptation) and the law (because they are most definitely NOT toys). Ryan also gave a walk-through of an 8″ NMT Dobsonian to explain to everyone present how the photon traffic is directed to the eyepiece and where to place your eye at all three scopes to see the sights.

2013nov30_pulaski_ryan_small

Kids watching Larry with an NMT Dob in the foreground. Photo by Ryan Goodson. Click for a larger version.

The following hour was an observing free-for-all, with each of us picking and describing objects in the Night Sky. With the line and discussion as long as it was, I only managed to observe Albireo, the Ring Nebula (M57), the Pleiades, Vega, and Jupiter (it quite close to the end of the event).

2013nov30_pulaski_damian_small

The author dressed for radio. Photo by Ryan Goodson. Click for a larger version.

Despite the cold, everyone was attentive and full of good questions (perhaps the best part of running these events is discovering that the science gears are spinning quickly in the heads of science club members). We finally packed up around 9:30 p.m. after I ran a 15-minute warm-up session indoors to talk a little more astro-shop (spending most of the time on intelligent life in the universe and the reason why we’ve so few impact craters on Earth).

Larry summed up our session best on Facebook:

I would like to take a moment, and thank the kids and adults at Pulaski Middle School for inviting us up last night for another great astronomy night. All the kids were engaged, enthusiastic, and contributed to lots of great discussions. We had a wonderful night of observations, nice clear skies and I can’t wait to do it again. I am truly amazed by the breadth of knowledge of the kids and their eagerness to learn more. Keep it up, kids!!!

CNYO Brochure – A Guide To Meteor Showers

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

In preparation for upcoming 2013 lecture and observing sessions, we have put together instructional brochures to help introduce the Night Sky to attendees. The fourth of these, entitled “A Guide To Meteor Showers,” covers the whens and whys of meteor shower observing and is provided below in PDF format. This brochure will be available at our combined lecture/observing sessions, but feel free to bring your own paper copy (or the PDF on a tablet – but have red acetate ready!).

Download: A Guide To Meteor Showers (v4)

NOTE: These brochures are made better by your input. If you find a problem, have a question, or have a suggestion (bearing in mind these are being kept to one two-sided piece of paper), please contact CNYO at info@cnyo.org.

2013may1_htnsm_pg1

2013may1_htnsm_pg1

A Guide To Meteor Showers

The Year’s Notable Meteor Showers

A list of all 12 familiar meteor showers, their radiants, their origin, and their time of year.

Meteoroid, Meteor, Or Meteorite?

“One piece of interstellar debris, three different names that tell you something about the “state” of the object (1) as it exists in space, (2) as it slams into our atmosphere, and (3) as it hits the ground if it’s big enough to survive entry.”

A Lot From All Over – And Very Fast

“Meteor showers are the most predictable times to see debris falling from space, but an estimated 40 tons* of space dust falls on Earth EVERY DAY.”

Meteor Showers Vs. Random Meteors

“As you can’t predict their location or direction, you simply have to be looking at the right place at the right time!”

What’s In A Name?

“The meteor shower itself has nothing to do with the constellation or the stars, only the part of the sky that the constellation occupies on the late nights and early mornings when the meteor shower is visible.”

Clash Of The Tinys

“It is the Earth, revolving around the Sun at a dizzying 110,000 km/hour (that’s 30 km/second!), that powers the meteor shower we see on the ground.”

A Snapshot Of A Meteor Shower

“What we see as a meteor shower is actually surface material from a Solar System body!”

Preparing For A Meteor Shower

“A reclining chair or blanket – the best view is straight up, so save your back and clothes.”

For Much More Information…

“The peak times given in this brochure are only general estimates, as the best times for each shower vary by one or more days each year.”