Beginners Guide To Viewing The Persied Meteor Shower

The annual summer Perseid meteor shower is set to display its glory in our skies over the next couple of days. The show comes as Earth passes through the dust trail of the Swift-Tuttle Comet. The meteors that scorch through the atmosphere appear to come from the constellation Perseus. The peak of the show is expected to be this evening, Thursday the 12th of August. The show should be particularly easy to view this year since there will be little light interference from the moon.

If you go outside a little early on Thursday evening, around sunset, you’ll see a beautiful gathering of planets in the sunset sky–Venus, Mars, Saturn and the crescent Moon. It’s a nice way to start a meteor watch. Here are a few tips to help you have the best viewing experience.

  • Check the weather. If it’s cloudy in your area there’s no point to the rest of it. Checking the weather will also let you know if you should bring a coat or warm clothes.
  • Clear Sky Charts are a good way to determine how dark and cloudy your night sky will be. For example, here is the chart for Denver:
  • Try to get out of the city. Your viewing experience is greatly diminished by light pollution: the leftover glow leaked from densely populated cities’ artificial light. Use this website to help you determine the darkest place for viewing in your area.
  • Use this website to help you determine the peak time for viewing in your timezone. The best Perseid activity, no matter the date or location, is usually seen during the last hour before the start of morning twilight, when Perseus lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. This is usually between the hours of 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM for most of us. If you can’t time it exactly don’t worry, anytime after midnight you should see a healthy number of “shooting stars” throughout the night.
  • The meteors will appear to be coming from the near the Persius constellation. So try to find a location with a low horizon to the north-northeast (if you are in Northern hemisphere). It’s not important that you look precisely at the Persius constellation but a goodstar chart will help you orientate yourself to the heavens and give you an idea of what you are looking at. Sky maps can also be found online and for the iPhone.
  • Relax your eyes and let you gaze wander this will allow you to pick up on the quick flashes that are produced by the shower.
  • Things to bring:

    • A coat or blanket
    • Bugspray
    • A flashlight
    • A compass (or a good sense of direction)
    • A folding lounge chair
    • Drinks & snacks
    • A sense of wonder

Most of all it’s important to have fun and enjoy the splendors of nature. If you’re interested in learning more about meteor showers this amateur astronomy website is a good place to start.

Sick Systems – How To Keep Somebody With You Forever

This is a magnificent (yet disturbing) piece on creating a “sick system” – a psychologically manipulative set of behaviors used to keep people dependent on you. There are four main rules:
1. Keep them too busy to think.
2. Keep them tired.
3. Keep them emotionally involved.
4. Reward intermittently.

I have seen this set of rules used in a large number of dominant or authoritative relationships – including governments, dictators, religions, cults, lovers, kidnappers, families and employers. The author outlines a bunch of techniques you can use to achieve your goals using the “sick system” rules.

Make sure there’s never quite enough money, or time, or goods, or status, or anything else people might want. Insufficiency makes sick systems self-perpetuating, because if there’s never enough ______ to fix the system, and never enough time to think of a better solution, everyone has to work on all six cylinders just to keep the system from collapsing.

Artifacting

Benjamen Walker’s Theory Of Everything: I haven’t really gotten into this whole podcasting thing yet but this looks like it could be a good one.

Not your ordinary Mashup! This Beatles Mash-up Medley mix is made up by appx 40 Beatles songs, with sometimes five different songs playing at the same time. A must hear.

Transformational geometry and interation in cornrow hairstyles.

DVD Light Display: Turn your T.V. into a futuristic light display. Play this dvd and watch as 8 recorded colors are “played”. Use your T.V. as a cool new lighting element or lamp at your next party. It way too expensive, but a great idea.