Monday, 5 August 2019

Meteors over Killarney

For the past 9 years, excepting 2016, Vicki and I have been presenting our insight into astronomy at Killarney Provincial Park (Ontario.CA). We have used the  Perseid meteor shower  to introduce campers to the night sky following the examples of Bruce Waters and Bill Gardner. At the beginning of each year I check the phases of the moon for August. This year something curious happened: there was a total lunar eclipse on the night Jan 20-21. And if that were not enough, there were 2 meteorite strikes during totality. There are reports here , here , and  here.

Now this gave me an idea because the moon is around full for the maximum of the shower. Let us try citizen science and observe the moon, the part in shadow between the crater  Copernicus and the limb, toward the crater  Aristarchus  a region noted for transient phenomena.  Can we see impacts on the moon?

In addition to the Perseids, there are 2 other showers that are active, the Kappa Cygnids, and the Delta Aquarids. I am pleased that Vicki and I noted the Kappa shower all on our own after 2 seasons in Killarney  - there were just too many meteors radiating from one spot for it to be an accident. The shower shares a characteristic with the December Geminids in that the source appears to be an extinct comet, minor planet 2008 ED69.

There is one more point of interest and that is the Taurids have a swarm that is just outside the Earth's orbit but close enough to interact. And as if on cue there have been 3 boloides reported within 24 hours. There maybe a connection between these events and Tunguska, June 30, 1908 and Comet Encke

In addition, 2 fine telescopes will also be available for the campers. During the daytime the 25cm may be used on the sun along with the 4cm Coronado H-Alpha telescope. At night we shall use the 40cm telescope to look at Jupiter and Saturn. Between 22;30 and 23:30 weather and the public permitting, we'll try to  see if we can detect any flares on the moon caused by impacts. There may be several independent groups looking at the same time to rule out cosmic rays and chance telescopic meteors.

Let us hope that the weather at least co-operates.

Best wishes,

Wise Old Bird