Friday, December 14, 2012

Meteor Hunting

 Last night was the peak night for the Geminid meteor shower so we went off searching for a spot with clear sky. As you can see from the photos above and below we didn't really find it, but it was a great adventure anyway.
We went a good 40 minutes out of the city to a spot that a group of Ottawa Amateur Astronomers use. It was fairly dark but a thin layer of cloud reflected all the town lights back at us. The photo above was a 30 second exposure so we couldn't actually see that orange glow with our eyes, and we were at least able to see Orion, the Pleiades, a very bright Jupiter and Gemini, or at least the brightest stars of Gemini, one of which, Castor, is near the point where all Geminid meteors radiate from.

My count was just three, one of which was good long one. Not too disappointing. Steve thought he "maybe" saw one. The boys did a little sky watching and then spent an hour in the boot of the car drawing and chatting and playing happily. Steve and I did a little talking/dreaming about travel plans for next year, wondering whether we can make sure we're camping somewhere very dark for the Perseid meteor shower next August.

Brendan presented us with a pile of drawings after an hour or so, some space pictures and a pirate island map. He's also working on decorative, curly handwriting which he says is "special writing for christmas". 

Steve cleverly covered up the inside car lights with red paper in an attempt to avoid messing up our dark adapted vision, but we soon discovered that the car flashes its headlights on each time you open the driver's door! If we go to an astronomy gathering sometime we'll have to fit some sort of cover over the headlights :)

We ended the chilly night outside with a mug of hot chocolate and then headed home, both boys falling asleep in the car. Looking forward to next time.


jo said...

sorry happy to read these updates. xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Siobhan, the best views we've ever had of the Perseids were at Sandbanks, an Ontario Provincial Park that Steve knows of... Lake Ontario on one side of you and farmland for miles and miles the other directions... And it's a well-maintained campground!
Sandy (Woods)

jo said...

why did my phone write sorry?? i meant so happy to read these updates!! xx