Last weekend the Orionid meteor shower peaked. To be honest, it’s a rather weak shower, with a max of maybe 25 meteors per hour. I mentioned it on Twitter and other social media, but it’s usually a so-so shower at best so it didn’t seem worth it to plug it much. Even big showers like the Perseids, Leonids, and Geminids can be fairly variable in what you see, so I usually only plug the bigger ones.
Still, the Orionids can be nice if you have dark skies. Mike Lewinski went out to Embudo, NM (along the Rio Grande river) to do some meteor photography and happened to catch a spectacular fireball from the shower. It even left what’s called a persistent train, a trail of ionized, vaporized material that can glow for quite some time. I combined three of his images into one composite to show you the sequence:
On the left is the fireball, in the middle is the glowing train (as well as a second meteor that fell along the nearly same path as the first), and on the right the trail some minutes after the original meteor. He said the train was visible for over half an hour! He also put together a time lapse animation of it:
[Note: You may need to refresh this page to see the embedded video.]
It’s pretty fast, so you might want to run it a few times. Mike also created a second video that’s zoomed in.
I guess the lesson here is that it can’t hurt to go out and observe meteor showers (here’s a site where you can see when the next one is). You might catch something pretty amazing! And even if you don’t, it’s still a night out under the stars, and that’s still one of the best ways you can spend your time.
Image credit: Mike Lewinski, used by permission
Just a few things to link to for your evening reading enjoyment and/or frustration.
1) The Orionid meteor shower peaks over the next few days! These meteors, remnants of comet Halley, appear to stream form the direction of the constellation Orion. Check out Tom’s Astronomy Blog and Science@NASA for more info.
2) Nancy Atkinson at Universe Today reports that a scientist working on both LRO and Chandrayaan-1 has been arrested for espionage. Wow.
3) Sylvia Browne just got a book deal with Harper Collins, which includes a series of books by other authors about the supernatural and spirituality, called The Sylvia Browne Collection. Barf. The cool thing is, the linked article mentions Randi, who has been tireless in holding Browne’s feet to the fire when it comes to her claims of the paranormal. Maybe a debate can be set up on The View…?
Nah. Silly question.