Friday, August 04, 2017

provided meteor information

RASC Toronto Centre member Raymond asked, on the forum, about viewing the Perseid meteors. He specifically remarked about not seeing a GTA event listed on the web site. He wanted to know if anything was planned.

One member (who didn't sign their message) said there was a planned event on the 9th "at the OSC." That wasn't right. Not the right date for certain. And they used an acronym (instead of Ontario Science Centre) which the original poster (OP) might not know. [ed: Turned out they were referring to a meeting! So, a completely misleading reply.]

Joel jumped in. He said he thought the OP was asking about events on the evening of the 12th. He thought the Moon phase did not look promising on that night but asked if others, with more experience, could comment on this.

Ed added to the discussion. He suggesting going out at 10 PM when it was getting dark and continuing until 11 PM when the Moon would come up. I thought this a bit unhelpful as meteors are best viewed later in the evening. Still, one might get lucky. And then he said that viewing on any night but the peak "isn’t going to be useful." I thought that remark rather discouraging. Yes, the peak is best but showers run for days or weeks.

Tony chimed in noting the group event at the Carr Astronomical Observatory. He stated the location. Said they needed a couple more volunteers. And that volunteers could stay for free. He argued it was likely the darkest north-west skies in a two-hour driving range.

I was wondering what the OP thought of all this so far as no one had really directly answered his question. And there seemed to be a lot of misleading or obtuse statements. And no one from the observing team had joined in. I felt compelled. I wrote a long post to address his first query.
  • Suggested viewing meteors inside a city light dome reduces visibility.
  • Dark skies are best.
  • Suggested specific frequently-used dark sites.
    • Carr Astronomical Observatory
    • Long Sault
    • Forks of the Credit
    • Glen Major
  • Encouraged him to rally the troops if keen.
  • If one wanted really dark, Manitoulan island.
  • Briefly explained meteors are best viewed after midnight.
  • Noted Moon rise times with distance from the centre of Perseus.
    • Aug 11, 22:40, 60°
    • Aug 12, 23:11, 50°
  • Reminded that the Moon would be near third quarter phase.
  • Acknowledged peak date/time was very best.
  • But leading up to and after the peak dates was still viable.
  • Shared my recent meteor sightings (despite a poor sky and first quarter Moon).
  • Provided a link to the American Meteor Society site for general information.
I shared my belief that given the city light pollution combined with the Moon phase was why the RASC Toronto Centre has not planned any specific event inside the GTA limits.

Finally, I noted that next year, 2018, would be perfect! The 11/12th would be on the weekend. The Moon would be in the new phase. I expected we'd have a big party planned at the CAO on the Blue Mountains!

I wanted to provide facts. I wanted to be hopeful but realistic. And it needed to be said that no inner city event was planned.


At last, Allard noted the ParkBus Perseid event. Detailed were being finalised.

Raymond thanked all for the information. Hinted at staying in and around the GTA.

Joel noted the Perseid web page on our site was not updated. [ed: Still not.]

Katrina shared a link to the Lennox-Addington site.

I added a forgotten item. Referred to my Journal article from May where I reviewed the Meteor Shower Calendar app.

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