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Upcoming meteor shower: advice?

  1. Apr 14, 2014 #1


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    I'm looking for input/advice. *nudge* Russ :biggrin:

    There's going to be a meteor shower (Lyrids) during my wife's birthday, and I want to take her to see it. Maybe bring some food to cook on the mini BBQ, wine, you get the idea. =]

    So, I want to have something else to do just in case we don't see anything; it's my understanding that different showers have different peak hourly rates, and my research indicates the Lyrids's rate is quite low. So I found an app called Sky Safari (ver. 4) for $0.99 with some really nice features for finding stars, planets, etc. A friend told me I should probably get a set of binoculars if I wanted to see objects with higher Zenithal Limiting Magnitude (dimmer), so I bought a pair of the following:


    Here's my plan: I went to http://darksitefinder.com/maps.html and found a place nearby that has low light pollution. I want to go out to the site and setup a comfortable area where we can recline, eat, and watch for the shower. However, if we aren't seeing anything, I plan on using Sky Safari to help me find different constellations and maybe even our neighbor, Andromeda.

    Questions: Will those binoculars enable us to see some local clusters and nebulae? Should I bring anything else? I don't have a telescope, and it's not something I know enough about to even be able to make use of a borrowed one. I want to make the most of this night, so please, if any of you have ideas, I'd love to hear them! Thank you. :smile:
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2014 #2


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    You'll always be able to see the sights of Orion along the sword hanging from his belt:


    Best binoculars would be 10x50 or greater as the larger the aperture the more light is collected. You're not going to see any color though even with a telescope.

    Another app to consider is Distant Suns (iPad/Android/Nook/Kindle). It has a compass feature (mobile device must have a compass feature) that adjusts your view as you look in different directions:



    You might want to consider bug spray and jackets if its cold and a red flashlight so as not to destroy your night vision when looking for something.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  4. Apr 14, 2014 #3


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    Dembadon, what a sweet thing to do for your wife!
  5. Apr 14, 2014 #4


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    Hadn't thought about the red light, but that's a good idea. Thank you!

    Thanks! I just hope she finds it relaxing and fun; she's been working a lot lately.
  6. Apr 14, 2014 #5


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    At your service. :D

    Lots of people to help on this one though.
    Yes, but most will just be fuzzy blobs. But that might be ok as long as you go in knowing what to expect. Tempered expectations reduces potential for disappointment. Still, showing the little blob, then showing a pic of what it looks like through a telescope can bring a "wow" moment of perspective.

    Look for open clusters. They are bigger, brighter and show well in binoculars. "Wow, I didn't imagine there are so many stars in such a small area!"

    Jupiter is still up in the west too. You can see four moons and maybe the stripes.
    A tripod. It can be surprisingly difficult to keep binoculars steady enough to be very useful.
    Find and identify satellites. SatTrack (Android) is what I use, plus the website http://www.heavens-above.com/ If you don't tell her in advance of seeing a good one, that's a nice surprise.
  7. Apr 14, 2014 #6
    Sounds like a grand night star-gazing. What fun!!
  8. Apr 14, 2014 #7


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    Awesome! Thank you for popping in and helping me out. I'll definitely look into locating some satellites.
  9. Apr 15, 2014 #8

    jim hardy

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    check this site ,


    with a little bit of luck the space station will overfly your area.
    It was spectacular in Idaho Falls a couple nights ago.

    keep an eye on your PBS TV station. There's a ten minute show called "Star Hustler" that gives a rundown of what's in the sky every week.
  10. Apr 15, 2014 #9


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    Thank you for the link, Jim. The report for our area shows the ISS passing over around 9:35PM, which is perfect!
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