Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indigo Party and Meteor Shower

Tonight is the Perseid Meteor shower.  Joybilee Farm has the ideal darkness for viewing the night sky, with very little light pollution -- just the occasional passing car on the highway.  We have a private party booked for the event beginning at 3:30pm with an Indigo Dye Party.  We will teach our group traditional Japanese Shibori resist patterns (similiar to Tye Dyeing).  Traditional Shibori attempts to imitate the brilliant white stars on a dark indigo sky background -- a perfect appetizer for a night of sky watching.

Then we'll have a potluck dinner, visit with the animals and set up the telescopes.  There will be 4 or 5 telescopes set up to view various sky objects.  The meteor shower can be seen with the naked eye. The forecast is for clear skies and perfect viewing conditions.

It will be dark around 9:30 and the meteor shower will begin to be visible, coming out of the East.  Officially the meteors are supposed to emanate from the North East constellation, Perseus.  But in reality they come from anywhere in the East and streak across the sky on both the North and South horizons and even through the apex.  We saw some spectacular streaks last night near the dipper.
From Sky and Telescope



We had a practice run last night and found Arcturus in the constellation Bootes (Latin for Shepherd)  Bootes can be found in the Western Sky around 10pm.  Just to the South of Bootes is the Corona, a circle of stars, (Latin for the Crown) and Just South and toward the horizon from Corona, one can see the Snake.  It looks just as if the Snake was trying to steal the crown from the Shepherd.  That sounds like an illustration for a very old story that I know.  Do you know that story, too?

Another story in this section of the night sky is found close to the Corona Borealis -- where the hero (Hercules) is seen to be kneeling on the head of the Dragon (Draco).  Does this echo another story that you know?  We read in Genesis that the 'seed of woman' would crush the serpent's head and that the serpent would crush His heel.  That story was written in the stars centuries before the Greeks would name the hero 'Hercules'.  

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