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2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: June 21st, 2019, 2:02 pm
by Christopher K.
The Perseid meteor shower lasts this year from ~15 July to ~25 August. Practically speaking, within forty kilometers of Baton Rouge one should look from 10 August to 14 August.

HRPO personnel are planning to have the facility open from 10pm to 2am on the peak night, which has yet to be determined. The only government property in EBR Parish people are allowed to use for viewing this event is probably the Highland Road Park Observatory. HRPO is definitely the only BREC property on which people can be for the Perseids. The viewing session has no admission fee and all ages are allowed.

One should lie comfortably on the ground on a blanket or tarp that can get dirty. Alternatively, use a lawn chair or some other reclining chair. Most of the time, one should keep the head angled to a point about halfway to two-thirds from horizon to zenith.

General tips for viewing meteors include...
*Dress warmly. You'd be surprised how much body heat you lose while immobile outdoors (even in the summer).
*Do not consume alcohol of any sort. Even before consumption has given you a "buzz", it has hindered night vision.
*Do not allow your electronic device (flip phone, smart phone, tablet etc.) to glow in your eyes unless you can have it glow red and faint. There will be instructions inside the main building for toggling iPhones to and from a red light display.
*Do not take your eyes off the sky! Even the slowest meteors are quite fast. Talk and socialize if desired, but everyone around should understand that searching for meteors is taking precedent.
*Do not break any laws or ignore any basic safety principles to increase the chance of seeing more meteor streaks; it's not worth it.

The Perseid radiant lies five-and-a-half degrees east-northeast of the Perseid Double Cluster and two-and-three-quarters degrees from Eta Persei, an M-class magnitude 3.8 double star. A few meteors seen during these mornings may be sporadic (not associated with any shower) or related to one of many minor showers happening simultaneously.

If you choose to view from your backyard, make advanced plans to extinguish your home's outer lights and to request that your neighbors do the same. If you have a civic or homeowners' association consider making a motion to adopt a policy to switch to and maintain full cut-off (FCO) lighting year-round; this will make your neighborhood perpetually "ready" for viewing meteors in the night sky.

Please do not go anywhere for which you've not been given permission, or anywhere that is unsafe.

Re: 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: July 18th, 2019, 6:09 pm
by Christopher K.
The Highland Road Park Observatory will be open for the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower on Monday 12 August from 10pm to 2am.

Re: 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: August 9th, 2019, 2:26 pm
by Christopher K.
At 10pm there will be a brief, twenty- to thirty-minute presentation on HRPO's main floor. This presentation will explain where meteors originate, how to look for them and the general rules and regulations at HRPO that must be followed by visitors.

Below is the NOAA forecast for HRPO's viewing time of 10pm to 2am for late Monday/early Tuesday...
precipitation potential, 2%
sky cover, 53%
relative humidity, 91%
temperature, 27˚C
heat index, 32˚C
surface wind, SW 8 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky predictions have yet to be released for this time period.

HRPO will not have office hours on Tuesday 13 August.

More information:

Re: 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: August 12th, 2019, 4:37 pm
by Christopher K.
HRPO personnel encourages all viewers of the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight to take notice: NOAA predicts the heat index to stay above ninety Fahrenheit until at least 12:15am. Any visitors at HRPO should periodically come into the main building to get some AC and some water.

Re: 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: August 12th, 2019, 7:29 pm
by Christopher K.
Below is the NOAA forecast for HRPO's viewing time of 10pm to 2am...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 19%
relative humidity, 84%
temperature, 29˚C
heat index, 35˚C
surface wind, SW 3 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time the transparency rating will be "below average" (2 out of 5) and the seeing rating will be "good" (4 out of 5).

The 12 August 2019 rating is...

Bring a water bottle if possible.

Re: 2019 Perseid Meteor Shower

Posted: August 15th, 2019, 5:12 pm
by Christopher K.
HRPO saw 215 patrons at this year's Perseid event. As in-house (from-the-site) informal marketing was almost nonexistent as on-site staff is quite busy (just wrapping up the Summer Camp paperwork and preparing for the new Celestial Fantasia, the Neptunian Opposition and getting an early start on the Spooky Spectrum), I was pleasantly surprised to see dozens and dozens of cars turn onto the HRPO property--especially as the heat index was oppressive and it was a school night for most kids.

The almost-Full Moon and the light pollution hid the dimmest meteors. Really and truly, I believe the cumulative count for visual Perseids probably wasn't above two or three dozen. I saw one beautiful Perseid in the east at about 1:05am; it was perhaps magnitude 1 or 0. I saw two or three very dim sporadics inside the Summer Triangle. I was inside mostly, though.

Thanks to Center Supervisor Jordan Cobbs for coming in to help us start up the event, even though he had to get up early for his full-time job. Thanks to Roz R., Scott C. and Thomas H. of the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society for fulfilling their volunteer duties (front desk information, scope operation) with the usual enthusiasm. Thanks to BREC Marketing Manager Ashlyn Lambert for showing up to introduce photographer Stuart Polton to his task of recording the event for posterity.