METEOR WATCH at Scout Scar, May 23rd/24th

At last night’s meeting – thanks to everyone who came, and to all our speakers, by the way! – we looked at the exciting possibility of a new meteor shower occurring later in the month, specifically in the early hours of Saturday May 24th. Many meteor experts are hopeful that there will be a lot of shooting stars flying about at that time, as Earth ploughs through a stream of dust left behind by a comet. Some are hopeful we may even see a “meteor storm” with many hundreds of shooting stars zipping out of an area of sky to the lower right of the Plough.

Well, we’ll see! These things are very hard to predict accurately, but if there’s even a chance we might see something we have to get out there and look, don’t we? The problem is, all the predictions seem to agree that if there is enhanced activity it probably won’t occur until after sunrise in the UK, which is a shame, but you never know, if we’re lucky the peak might occur a few hours early, in which case we’ll have front row seats! Fingers crossed…

Because there’s a chance we might see something, we’ll be holding an EAS “Meteor Watch” up at Scout Scar, at a location found for and recommended to us by our Treasurer, Simon. This isn’t being organised as a public event – pretty sure not many non-astronomers would be that keen to be out at that time of night! – but if any non-members want to join us, maybe after reading this piece on the blog, they’d be very welcome, obviously.

We’ll start the Meteor Watch after midnight on the Friday (23rd), and go on basically for as long as we can into Saturday (24th) morning, just hoping to see something… anything really! The sky will start to brighten around 2.30am, but that gives us a good couple of hours of skywatching, and if we’re lucky this new shower might reward our patience and devotion by skimming a few Earth-grazing fireballs across our sky before we all pack up and go home! If you come please wrap up warm. Bringing something to sit on might be a good idea too – much easier looking up at and around the sky that way – and maybe a hot flask and a bite to eat. Also bring binoculars, of you have them, just in case any bright meteors leave ghostly, glowing trails behind in the sky… Red torches aren’t obligatory, but I know those of us planning on taking photos would be very grateful if people brought those.

So, where is this all taking place? These pics (click to enlarge them) will show you where to go. If you’re coming up, remember, there’s no guarantee at all that we’ll see anything dramatic or unusual, this is all highly speculative and uncertain. If we see something amazing – brilliant! But if we don’t, well, there’ll still be great views of Mars and Saturn to enjoy, and we can all take a look at Comet PANSTARRS K1. And we’ll be together…!(ahhhhhhhh!)

Hope to see you there!

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Hope to see you there.

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