Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fishing for Persieds

Click on images for larger view

I went fishing for Perseids Tuesday night and Wednesday morning during the peak of the Perseid Meteor shower. I cast my line out 1088 times between 10 p.m and 4:38 a.m., a little over 6 hours and caught only one little flash as it went behind the trees. My fishing pole was my Canon digital XTi mounted on a tripod. Even though, on average, there was at least one meteor per minute somewhere in the sky, my little part of the sky only had one meteor bright enough to get caught.
The top picture is the first image I took and the bottom picture is #340 out of 1088.
I believe most of you know that the bright stars in the top picture make up the Big Dipper, but take a look at the second star from the end of the dipper's handle. These double stars are Mizar and Alcor. This stars are a good test for "minimal" vision. If you have good eyesight, or a good pair of glasses, you should be able to see them as separate stars. Mizar, the brighter of the two is also a double star, but you need a telescope to see Mizar's fainter companion. Astronomers tell us that the two take at least 5000 years to make their orbit about each other. What is really interesting, is that each of these two stars also has a companion, making the system a "double-double". When you add Alcor, it creates a quintuple star system. Alcor takes 750,000 years to go around the quartet of stars that make up Mizar. I wonder what it would be like to live on a planet with 5 suns in your sky?

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