Thursday, December 13, 2007

Watching Greatness

You may be wondering right now,
"why isn't he working?"
well I am working but not on this machine,
Two of my others are workingg full steam,
and I'm taking breif two and a half minute breaks to update my blog.
(yes it's very scientific)

I have discovered of late the joys of the hunt of the meteor

The mighty Meteor is theoretically a lot more prevelant than I once thought.
And yet it is Highly elusive.

It all started one day as I was playing with my Yahoo page
(though of course, I use a Google one too, (To me they have different strengths))

I started adding various trackers,
Newsreels, and techblogs and other odds and ends.

You may have noticed may fascination with natural phenomena.
So when I learned that I could track Earthquakes, and Meteors I was all over that.

I guess I haven't seen a lot of meteors in my life,
and maybe that's why they fascinate me so much.
So when I saw the first message, about an upcoming spectacle,
appear on my main page, I was instantly drawn in.

I found some digital maps,
and Google Earth® added a Sky,
but still it was pretty hard to find the showers by when and where I could see them.

Much to my surprise I did not see very many falling rocks
in my first excursion,
also to my surprise, I got a second chance just a few weeks later.
Actually I was very surprised and pleased that the showers seem to happen every couple of weeks,
but two other things surprised me,
It didn't get easier to find the right spot in the sky to look for them,
and I still didn't see hardly any magical fireballs.

Well again tonight is 'A Spectacular Sight'

The Geminids (-id is a suffix that basically means meteors, and as you may have guess the first part refers to a constellation)

The Geminids usually start in the area of Gemini, and they can go in just about any direction from there.

My problem was that I didn't really know my astronomy enough to find most constellations, But Today, That Changes.

You see, I stumbled upon or created (Autenticity not verified)
an incredibly brilliant new system for finding the stars,
(no not those 'stars')

Its really quite simple, actually.

Turns out that Zodiac thing has a foundation.
See there are these twelve constellations that run from east to west.
and in the course of the year the earth seems to make a bit of a loop through them.

Those 12 constellations form a little belt that pretty much circles the earth in an east and west kind of way.

But sometimes you can only see a half circle on the east and west horizons.
(right now in the day time, you get half circles, but at night you get an arc from east to west.)

So if you know twelve sky formations,
then you have a foundation for finding everything else in the sky.

The normal system uses Z for zodiac, and N for north of the Z, And S for well South.

but my system is a little more specific,

I call it the Zodiac Plus System (Just made that up, pretty cool huh?)

Basically every constellation is found by it's relation to one of the twelve
that we just learned how to find.

It looks something like this.
(by the way did you know that astronomy recognizes about 90 constellations?)

Orion = Taurus S + 1 (meaning that is is just south of Taurus. But it's also near Gemini (Gemini is Just west of 'the bull')

Pegasus would be
Pisces N + 1

Hercules would be Scorpius N + 2

Phoenix = Pisces S + 3

and of course
The Big Dipper
(and Ursa Major) would be Leo N + 1

So tonight when the Geminids burst through our sky,
you would look East at about nine, because it's a standard, or west when the sun is about to rise, or up somewhere in between.

Coincidentally Mars is right by Gemini about now.
so if you can find a planet in that general direction, then you can find a show.

(of course like I have said, I've had terrible luck with these shows, too cloudy,
no shooting stars, or maybe not knowing where to look.)

But there is one type of show that I've had good luck with,
and that is the big screen, I mean really big screen.

I bought a projector,
and wow is it nice.

You know for movies and such.
It's actually quite nice.

And so for Christmas I'm offering my good readers a bit of a gift.
that's right one free rental any time (some restrictions of course apply)

So whether you prefer to watch the stars, or the other stars, we've got you covered.
Merry Christmas to all, and To all a Good Sight!