Perseid meteor

It was about 11.40pm tonight in the UK. I was looking through my kitchen window looking west. I was ringing my sister to tell her the Perseid Meteor shower was due tonight, when I saw what I can only describe as a fireball flash by heading north west. Two seconds later, my sister who lives eighty miles away saw it too! It flew over her right shoulder and dissappeared. So it must have been travelling about 40 miles a second. Since then I’ve seen about four meteors (shooting stars). It’s clouded over now. But there should be about 150 an hour after local midnight! X

Sunset

Only 93 million miles away. The sun sets… But it really set 8 minutes earlier! It’s just that light takes that long to get from the sun to us.

OK, now look up at the stars. Some of them are actual stars and others are nebulae and galaxies.

Light takes time to travel. They talk about light years, some stars are only a few light years away. Some are thousands, or millions, or billions of light years away.

Now think about radio waves. They travel at the speed of light too… So TV and radio signals from Earth started travelling from when we first broadcast radio back in the 1920’s or 30’s? Thats a sphere around the Earth with a radius of about 90 or 100 years. So a planet 90 light years away might just about be hearing our signals. Imagine what they would do. They can’t travel here at the speed of light, but they might reply, but that will take 90 years to reply. Closer stars could have planets that reply sooner. But it’s still going to be a boring conversation!

Galaxy

Today’s #bandofsketchers prompt was Space. It is a favourite subject. I love the Sky at Night Programme on the BBC. I’ve tried to paint the Whirlpool galaxy, using Arteza metallic watercolours and some black and white acrylic. A bit splodgy but the detail on the photo was overwhelming.

Sun and Moon

#30daysketchbookchallenge, Day 23 drawing. Sun and Moon in an eclipse. I couldn’t get the black dark enough and the colours bright enough so I used Instagram filters on it….

I’ve seen a couple of eclipses in the UK. They were only partial eclipses but by looking in a bowl of water, and also the dark reflective paint on my car I managed to see something. Also the phenomenon of curved moon shapes of light caused by light from the partially eclipsed sun shining through vegitation.

NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN DIRECTLY EVEN IN AN ECLIPSE. IF YOU ARE USING FILTER GLASSES MAKE SURE THEY ARE NOT FAKE. IF YOU LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN YOU CAN BE BLINDED!

Geminid Meteor Shower

Tried to draw a meteor shower…

I tried to view the shower a few years ago. We drove miles, but we’re stuck under a cloud base that was miles across. I gave up after forty miles. Tonight it’s the same, cloud everywhere. But if you get the chance try and see it for yourself!

The Geminid meteor shower is tonight. (morning of 14th December 2020). I looked up the information on Wikipedia I’m afraid as I don’t know enough about them:

The Geminids are a prolific meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon,[4] which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid[5] with a “rock comet” orbit.[6] This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around December 6–14, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of December 14. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time. Geminids were first observed in 1862,[1] much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids (36 AD) and Leonids (902 AD).

Grand conjunction

My impression of Jupiter and Saturn

Every so often Jupiter and Saturn appear close to each other in the sky. That’s because Jupiter, which is the closer of the two to the Sun, goes round the Sun about twice as fast as Saturn. This month they will be in grand conjunction on the 14th of December 2020. They will be within about 1° of arc of each other. Jupiters four galilean moons (the four that Galileo discovered through his teliscope) will be visible too. The Moon will not be visible. So if you look South West on the night of the 14th you might just see the conjunction if the sky is clear. This is one of the best since 1262? Enjoy. For details have a look at websites like Spaceweather.com

Gemini

I’m into Astronomy not Astrology, but I do like the symbols that are used, I just tried this out as an idea to symbolise the Gemini ♊ twins. I wanted to capture the feeling of identical and non identical at the same time. I did consider different skin tones and eye colours. This is also female, but I could have drawn male instead. Drawn in ArtRage oils and Sketch apps, it is again an example of digital drawing. I might put it through a few filters and see what results.

Aurora

IMG_20191016_182532_487 (2) (2) (2)_optimized

The sun is starting to wake up after Solar Minimum. Apparently there was a coronal mass ejection from the sun yesterday. This means that a twisted magnetic line of energy had broken and exploded with plasma coming out of the Sun. The energy can fly out in any direction but sometimes the CME heads towards Earth, then the magnetic feild around the Earth shields us. Except at the poles. Its like when you put iron filings on a bar magnet. You can see the magnetic field lines and the way the iron filings follow them. The magnetic lines dip down towards the magnetic poles. This is what happens at the North and South poles of Earth. The energy from the sun is channelled towards the poles and excites the gasses in the atmosphere. I think Nitrogen glows green and Oxygen pink? I’m not sure.

Anyway there has been a CME from the Sun and the chance is there might be some Auroral displays in the next few days.

Perseids

sketch-1596844501892

From Spaceweather.com

PERSEID METEOR ALERT: Earth is entering a stream of debris from giant comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the display is not expected to peak until August 11-13, sky watchers are already seeing some of the most beautiful fireballs of the year. Plan your Perseid watch with sky maps and observing tips on today’s edition of of Spaceweather.com.

I hope we have clear skies in the UK.

Comet Neowise

sketch-1595445833950

I have not seen it. It keeps being to cloudy. But I just read this at Spaceweather.com so I tried to draw it.

COMET NEOWISE APPROACHES EARTH: Tomorrow night might be your best chance to see Comet NEOWISE for the next 6,800 years. On July 23rd, the comet makes its closest approach to Earth. The fading comet is still visible to the naked eye from dark-sky sites and an easy target for photographers everywhere. Get the full story at Spaceweather.com .

There is then the Persid meteor shower in August. Around the 15th? That might be a good show. Meteor showers are caused by the dust thrown off from comets as they get close to the sun. It’s called out gassing when cometary ice is heated by sunshine and boils off into space taking dust with it. A comets tail is made up of two different parts, the dust tail and an ion tail which is made up of ionised gas. The comets tail always points away from the sun because it is blown by the solar wind.

X