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View Full Version : The Geminids in July.. according to NBC



starrymom12
2002-Jul-15, 06:36 PM
The NBC soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, is running a storyline now that is really bad astronomy at its worst. On the night of the 4th of July, the good citizens of Salem (where this show is set), gathered to watch the Geminid (!) meteor shower. The shower was supposed to contain over one million meteors an hour..boy, I'd like to see one that size. The meteors were shown from space, and were all quite huge. The meteors began hitting all over the city, causing craters in the roads, traffic accidents, and a full hospital. Two of the teen-aged characters, Belle and Shawn, saw a UFO come out of the shower, which landed by them. Two scantily clad aliens, a very good looking male and female, were pulled from their craft right before it exploded, and were given CPR by Belle and Shawn. The aliens ran off, and were supposed to get involved with Belle and Shawn as the summer teen plot line...! When my son mentioned that he saw the original commercial for the show, I watched, hoping to see something interesting that might get more people out under the night sky..instead, I saw a show that had no regard to the accuracy of what it was running..and I hope that next month's Perseid shower doesn't make kids run under their beds, or into the woods looking for UFO's. Starrymom12

Donnie B.
2002-Jul-15, 07:50 PM
Wow, that's what I call Bad Astronomy!

Nice first post, starrymom! Welcome to the board.

Jim
2002-Jul-15, 09:09 PM
...I watched, hoping to see something interesting that might get more people out under the night sky...

Well, I dunno, but the promise of scantily clad (especially good-looking female) aliens would get me out of the house.

Considering there are soap story lines involving time travel, ghosts, angels & devils, and vampires, a little BA doesn't seem so bad.

(Hi, Mom!)

beskeptical
2002-Jul-16, 12:31 AM
I knew soap operas were reaching for story lines that weren't already done but that one is too much. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

My son and I have gone to clear southerly skies the last 3 of 4 years to see the Leonid's 33 year storm. (It's in November, by the way. And this November should be the last chance for good activity for many years to come.)

Particles in a meteor shower are the size of dust grains. In 1998, the Leonids was particularly striking with fireball after fireball and lots of lingering vapor trails. I would imagine some of those particles to have been as big as a grain of sand. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

David Hall
2002-Jul-16, 03:03 AM
Unfortunately, this year's Leonid shower is marred by a gibbous moon, which will probably wash out a lot of the dimmer ones. Still, there may be a chance of a really good shower, so keep looking up. (Last year's (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=187&forum=2) was awesome, but alas, no storm.)

I'm also looking forward to the Perseids this year. I haven't had a chance to go out and see them for several years, so this time I don't intend to miss them. It looks like they've been getting a bit weaker though in the last few years. I hope they don't disappoint.

Here's the 2002 list of meteor showers from the International Meteor Organization. There are more showers than you would realize (which leads me to wonder if many of the sporadics I've seen weren't actually from smaller showers instead).
http://www.imo.net/calendar/cal02.html
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beskeptical
2002-Jul-16, 08:42 AM
Our Leonids experience last year from the Little Alien near Area 51 was closer to jwave's who posted, "I witnessed a good show from east Tennessee. The skies were clear and I counted over 600 between 4:45 and 6:30am. I saw no really long streaks and nothing very bright, but 3 or 4 had a nice burst at the end. Many had very short apparent paths. I never saw more than 2 simultaneously, although bursts of 4 to 5 in 2 or 3 seconds occurred a few times."

I know the Moon will interfere but I recommend everyone who can should try to view the event anyway. While it might be disappointing, we haven't been disappointed yet. It's also great for kids if they are old enough not to fall asleep too early. With most meteor showers, the kids get bored if they have to look up for too long without results. With the Leonids in 98,99, & 01, anyone awake under clear dark skies would have seen meteors pretty frequently.

David Hall
2002-Jul-16, 12:33 PM
Aha. I finally found my reference to this. I'd made a textfile copy of this long ago & then lost it on my hard drive. It's from the American Meteor society, but that's all I know of the source.

An interesting relationship between the lunar month and the intervals between showers exists:

"The intervals between certain major meteor showers (Quadrantids, Lyrids, Eta Aquarids, Perseids, Orionids, Leonids, Geminids, Ursids, and Quadrantids) are 108, 14, 99, 70, 27, 8, and 12 days. This results in two series: Lyrids to Perseids (roughly 4 lunar months); Eta Aquarids to Orionids (6 lunar months) to Leonids to Geminids (1 lunar month each). If, in a certain year, the full Moon concides with one shower, it will also wipe out the others in the series. For example in 1976 and 1995, the Moon spoiled the Lyrids and Perseids." -- Mike Morrow

starrymom12
2002-Jul-18, 02:18 PM
As far as mereor showers go, I haven't had much luck. In 1985, the first year I became interested in astronomy, I had marvelous luck with the Perseids. It was crystal clear that night, and cold..40 degrees. Our city was undergoing finacial problems due to lack of money, and had been forced to turn every other steetlight off..so the skies were dark. The meteors fell from the sky in long arcs, leaving long, white trails. It was incredible. Later that year, I got a good night to see the Geminids, and watched that night as many green meteors slashed through the night sky. Since then, my run of luck with meteor showers has been incredibly bad. Cloudy skies, light pollution, rain, you name it, I've seen it! Last November, during the Leonids..we got FOG..thick pea soup fog..and we haven't had fog like that in this area in years! I posted about the Leonids on all these sites I belong to..and got back all this mail from people who went out and saw them, and saw an incredible amount of meteors. I saw nothing..but I did get many new people interested in astronomy, and now send out emails to some online friends each week telling them what to look for in the night sky. My children are hoping for better luck with the Perseids this year..they've never really gotten a chance to see a good shower, I hope the weather cooperates this time. Starrymom12

The Rusty Lander
2002-Jul-19, 02:35 PM
Now, as I recall, there was a plot about time travel in DOOL a few years ago. There was a doctor who type character. Unfortunately I only saw a bit of one episode. Could someone please tell me exactly what the storyline was about?

beskeptical
2002-Jul-19, 06:10 PM
On 2002-07-18 10:18, starrymom12 wrote:
As far as mereor showers go, I haven't had much luck. Starrymom12


Well don't feel too badly. I've missed 3 good chances at total solar eclipses.

First one, my parents took us to the movies so we wouldn't be blinded. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif
Second one in the US, I was in Australia.
Third one, 1991, I went to Mexico and managed to be in the one place that was cloudy. And worse than that, it got cloudy only minutes before totality. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif