Friday, May 4, 2012

Look to the skies on Saturday, May 5th!

Tomorrow night will be a great time to head outdoors away from the city lights, spread a blanket on the ground, and enjoy the show! May 5, 2012 will bring two spectacles for us to enjoy in the night sky. The first is the yearly "Supermoon" when our closest celestial neighbor passes within about 222,000 miles from Earth, and will appear up to 30% brighter than lesser full moons of the year. Coinciding with this lunar display is another show of night lights--the Aquarid meteor shower--a trail of shimmering dust particles traveling in the wake of Halley's Comet. I remember riding across the mountains separating North Carolina and Tennessee in the earliest days of Interstate 40, watching meteor showers send blazing streamers across the sky. I remember being awestruck at the vast numbers of streaks I saw. I don't remember the time of year, but I wonder now if it was this annual showing that I remember so vividly from my youth. I do not pretend to really know anything about astronomy, but there is a wealth of information at your fingertips on the internet about both of these events. The weather is a bit iffy in my region if you also check the internet for a forecast, but I am surely holding out for clear skies tomorrow night so I can make a short trek up to the Blue Ridge Parkway with my parents with whom I am visiting this weekend. We will find a quiet spot somewhere in the dark, lie back on a blanket, and enjoy! Hope you can too!

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