Showing posts with label Celestial Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celestial Events. Show all posts

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lyrids Meteor Shower!

Lyrids Meteor Shower peaks on April 22

Figure 1. Photo credits to meteorshowersonline

I have featured several meteor showers on this blog, like the annual Perseid Meteor Shower in August, and the November Leonids Meteor Shower.  This time around, another faithful meteor shower, the Lyrids, invites us to make a wish upon a falling star.

From the PAGASA Website, it explains...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Leonids Meteor Shower! How could I not blog about it?

sI've never seen a shooting star in my life. Or I don't remember. Will try to catch some for a wish or two tonight.

From Perseid to Leonids - Meteor Shower crazy

In August of this year, I blogged about the Perseid Meteor Shower. I was excited because I usually find out about these stuff after the fact, but that time

I went out and walked around the compound for a couple of nights in a row, hoping to catch one. It turned out to be a disappointment: It was drizzling, and the clouds were too thick to see the sky, much less any meteor showers.

This time around, I'm optimistic. Local weather station PAGASA says...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight!

I just found out that there is an ongoing meteor shower called the Perseid Meteor Shower, and that it is peaking TONIGHT (Aug 12)! It's a great night to sit under the stars and wish on a shooting star (or a hundred shooting stars just to be sure). :D

So, tonight, get you boyfriend, your girlfriend, your special someone to spend a few minutes looking at the sky. Make sure it's dark to get a better view of the night sky. I guess, a candle-lit dinner will be perfect. ;)

Details of meteor shower, where to look, i.e. what constellations to look for, and other geeky stuff after the jump...

Here is the info excerpt from the PAGASA Website:

"The famous Perseids meteor shower will be observed with its peak on the late night of August 12 until dawn on the following day...occasionally, an exceptional shower may show tens or even hundreds of meteors per minute, but around 50 meteors per hour is more typical."

The Perseids meteor shower is the most reliable one, which is best seen during August 10-14 every year. Under most favorable clear sky condition, there may be 60 to 100 meteors per hour."

If you see a shooting star, what will you wish for?

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is a syzygy?

"I was born on a syzygy."

"And what is a syzygy?" I have been asked several times already, so here's a quick explanation!

Where did the word come from? Pronounce as [see-zee-jee], it is late Latin syzygia conjunction, from Greek, from syzygos yoked together, from syn- + zygon yoke. And If you've seen the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", it's one of the first words they spell. :D Haha!

"...a syzygy is basically an alignment of celestial bodies."

Syzygy definition: In Astronomy, a syzygy is basically an alignment of celestial bodies. From earth, when we see a solar or lunar eclipse, it means the moon, the earth and the sun are in alignment or in conjunction, hence the shadow of one on another.

This is not limited to the sun, moon and earth, solar eclipses and lunar eclipses. Syzygies may be made up of the different celestial bodies in a gravitational system, e.g. our solar system.

So which one was I born on?

On March 10, 1982, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto was on the same side of the Sun, within a 95 degree wide interval (the closest they have been in more than 800 years!).

Almost a decade before that, in 1974, John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann published The Jupiter Effect, a bestselling book that predicted that on March 10, 1982 the alignment of the planets would create a number of catastrophes, including a great earthquake on the San Andreas Fault.

"...the alignment of the planets would create a number of catastrophes, including a great earthquake..."

A few weeks prior to that, there was indeed an earthquake somewhere in California which triggered a lot of talks and a lot of press about the "coming end of the world".

Three days before that, my mother went into labor for her second child (me!). She had labor pains and was already in bed with the comadrona (midwife) and my dad by her side. However, I was not ready to come out yet. Not yet!

On March 10, 1982 the predicted Syzygy did happen to the delight of star gazers but the catastrophes did not occur, as the gravitational effect of the other planets on the Earth’s crust is minimal even at their closest approach.

Then at the stroke of midnight on March 11, 1982, while everyone was celebrating that they were still alive (haha!), my mom, already 3 days in "labor" finally gave birth to a handsome, I mean healthy baby boy.

I suppose I really had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with it, but it's nicer to think that the world did not end because I was going to be born! Hehehe!

What are the effects of syzygies on the Earth?

So, I emailed a real astronomer about this and here is and excerpt of the reply that I got:
"The syzygy of 1982 had no real "effects" on Earth - even the combined gravity of all the planets aligned can't hold a candle to the gravity exerted by the Sun or Moon. That said, there was one important consequence of the 1982 alignment of the planets: the Voyager missions.

Because they were all relatively close at that time, it allowed us to launch two spacecrafts in 1977 to conduct a "Grand Tour" of the outer solar system, and one of the spacecraft at least was able to visit Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. So, I guess in that sense it can be said to have an "effect" on Earth in that we were able to greatly increase our knowledge of the outer solar system..."

Corny, right? lol.
I refuse to end this post on a corny note. So I go back to my earlier (non-)assertion...that it nicer to think that the world did not end because I was going to be born!

Still not satisfied?

Definitions of sygyzy:
Merriam Webster definition
The Free Dictionary definition
Answers definition
Your Dictionary definition
Dictionary definition
Encarta definition

Sites that talk about the Jupiter Effect & the 1982 syzygy
Alaska Science Forum

Syzygy images from:
Syzygy Poets
Institute of Creation Research