Perseid Meteor Shower - Aug 11/12, 2012

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  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • From: SE MA, U.S.A.
Perseid Meteor Shower - Aug 11/12, 2012
Posted by mr Q on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:36 PM

   One of the most watched meteor showers, the Perseids  are one of the most active showers of the year.

  The link below covers details on this year's shower with details on how to observe it and a description of the meteors.

  It is one of the best articles Ive' seen though I abhor the use of the term "shooting stars". Otherwise, it is very informative.

PERSEIDS

Mead DS-10 (10" newt)

10x50 Focal Bino

10x70 Orion Bino

What goes around, comes around, eventually.Wink

  • Member since
    May, 2005
Posted by Centaur on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:14 PM

Thanks for the reminder and the link, Mr Q.  What's the objection to the term "shooting stars"?  It was the title of my ninth grade science project over half a century ago.  The word star and its linguistic roots originally referred to any bright point of light in the sky, including a planet.  Referring to a meteor as a shooting star seems most apt to me.  In any event, I remind folks of my shooting star meteor shower calendar at www.CurtRenz.com/asteroids

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • From: SE MA, U.S.A.
Posted by mr Q on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1:16 AM

  Well, for one thing, you were in the 9th grade and still learning but now you know the proper (current) nomenclature and, if you now use the "old" term, you will usually be quickly corrected. It's like when a newcomer comes on these forum sites with astrology and astronomy terms switched - they will usually be quickly corrected.

  In any case, the roots of the word star is interesting in a historical context like the word "influenza" which originated in Italy during their flu outbreak in the early 1900s in which they believed the cause was stellar in origin. Strange that this term is still used today where meteors have replaced shooting stars.

Mead DS-10 (10" newt)

10x50 Focal Bino

10x70 Orion Bino

What goes around, comes around, eventually.Wink

  • Member since
    May, 2005
Posted by Centaur on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:37 AM

mr Q

  ...but now you know the proper (current) nomenclature and, if you now use the "old" term, you will usually be quickly corrected.

The 15th century word meteor and its companion word shower are both of meteorological (weather related) origin.  Prior to the early 19th century it was believed that meteors (colloquially shooting or falling stars) were strictly a meteorological phenomenon, hence the name meteor.  The word meteor was also applied to lightning and snowfall.  So meteor may be somewhat of a misnomer in the case of shooting stars, unless we wish to emphasize that they light up in the atmosphere, rather than the fact that their origin is outer space. However the word atmosphere originated in the 17th century, and in earlier times people were generally unaware that the air might have a height limit.

Perhaps more  egregious is the term meteoroid when applied to objects in outer space.  The suffix "oid" means similar in appearance but not genuine.  This usage seems to be an attempt at an analogy to asteroid, since meteors are tiny asteroids moving through the upper atmosphere.  Those who coined the word asteroid knew the objects they were viewing were small versions of planets, but in a telescope they appeared to be points of light in the manner of stars.  So they looked like stars but were not really stars, hence the word asteroid.  The term meteoroid would be better applied to a shooting star than the term meteor, i.e. it appears to be lightning but is not really lightning. 

The term shooting star is a lovely description.  It conveys more meaning than meteor.  I do use the term meteor more frequently than shooting star.  But I shall continue to occasionally say shooting star.  Language can be marvelous in the manner it conveys the thoughts and moods of each individual speaker.  Insistence on rigid uniformity imperils such freedom of expression.

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


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