Friday, November 13, 2009

Adventure 11/17: See *Stars* with NYChar!

UPDATE 11/16: The Inwood Astronomy Project posted updated info about the upcoming viewing trip this Tues 17th night/Wed 18th morning.  They said possibly up to 500 meteors an hour!!!  Click HERE for details.

I'm so excited about the upcoming Leonid meteor shower next week!

Some of my favorite memories have to do with stargazing - sitting in a car in the middle of a cul-du-sac with my mom when I was younger, talking about boys and life; freezing in Herty field with John and Charles, as they drank to every star that shot across the sky (they stayed warm, at least: ); 10 of us walking in the dark next to the lake at retreat, using a random star map from Chris's car to identify constellations we couldn't pronounce; eating moon cakes with Anna; Timon and Pumba.  The shooting ones are the best, because they catch you every time - they shoot by so fast that you don't know if you actually saw it!  But you did: )  No matter how many you actually get to see though, it's just special to feel the awesomeness and see the beauty of God's sparkling diamonds against the dark sky, esp in NYC.

Some interesting facts from (Full article here):
  • The meteors are debris from Comet Temple-Tuttle, and the first cloud of comet dust was released in 1567.
  • This year, we should expect to see 20-30 an hour, or 1 meteor every 2-3 min...and up to 500 according to!
  • The meteors are likely going to be brighter than usual, so watch out for bursts of light.
I reached out to the Amateur Astronomers Association of NY (same group that sets up at Highline on Tues to see Jupiter and other things!) with a few questions about the best time and location to see the showers this year, and here's the response I got back (from president Rich R.):

  • In the city it’s best to head for an open area away from local lighting.  Among the good sites are the Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow (if it’s open) in Central Park, the Long Meadow of Prospect Park and Inwood Park in upper Manhattan.  If you can get out of NYC, the simple rule is the farther the better...I like the overlooks on the Palisades Parkway and Ward Pound Ridge Park in northern Westchester County.
  • More meteors are best seen after midnight through dawn, because then Earth’s rotation is carrying us towards the meteors. 
Super helpful!  Then I read in TimeOut NY that there is a group ( heading up to Inwood Hill Park to see it on Tues night the 17th @ 9p, so that's what I plan on doing!  We have to call day of to confirm meeting place and time (917-529-2359).  More details soon.

Interested in coming along?  Let me know!