Posts

Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 11th and 12th

Earth, like a speeding car, races around the Sun sweeping up everything in its path. There are no insects in space, at least none that we know of, but there are plenty of meteoroids, little flakes of dust from comets and asteroids. They hit Earth’s atmosphere and–splat!–they disintegrate as fiery streaks of light called meteors.

This week lots of meteors will appear over Earth’s northern hemisphere when our planet plows through a swarm of dust shed by periodic comet Swift-Tuttle. It’s the annual Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 11th and 12th.

Just as bugs tend to accumulate on the front windshield of a car, Perseids accumulate on the front windshield of Earth.

Earth has a windshield? It’s the atmosphere, which protects us from solar wind and comet dust much as a car’s windshield protects passengers from wind, rain and bugs. Earth’s front windshield is the early morning sky. Earth circles the Sun dawn-side first, scooping up whatever lies on that side of the planet. That’s why it’s usually best to look for Perseids just before dawn.

A good time to see Perseids this year is before dawn on Wednesday morning, August 12th, when Earth’s front windshield is overhead. You could see dozens of meteors despite the glare of a 66% gibbous Moon.

Side windows, the ones to the left and right of passengers in cars, are good, too. Zooming down a bug-infested lane, side windows don’t intercept many insects, but the ones they do gather are worth examining. Bugs that strike side windows do so at a shallow angle, leaving long and colorful streaks.

This also happens to meteors. When the constellation Perseus (the source of the Perseids) hangs low near the horizon, meteors streaming from Perseus will skim the the top of Earth’s atmosphere, much like a bug skimming the side window of an automobile. Astronomers call these meteors “Earthgrazers.” They tend to be long and colorful.

Look for Perseid Earthgrazers on Tuesday night, Aug. 11th, between about 9:00 and 11:00 pm local time.

Earthgrazers don’t come in large numbers. The special geometry required to produce them keeps counts low, but even one or two is enough. A breathtaking Earthgrazer is the sort of meteor you’re likely to remember for years.

Jim Kirkwood, Jr.

Movie Review – Push

push-movie

Last night I watched the movie "Push”.  I really didn’t know anything about the movie except what I had seen in the previews, but I thought it would be a good flick. 

The acting was very good, the story was very deep and detailed. The special effects were all very good.  I liked all the characters and their stories. The only problem I really had with the film is they used a hand held camera in several places and those of you who know me, know I really don’t like that. It was mainly if the fight scenes, which is usually done to make up for the fact that they could not choreograph an interesting enough fight so they make up with jerky camera movements and quick takes. Also, it was used just when the characters are walking down the street. I guess they lost their tripod or just don’t mind making bad scenes. Those were all very distracting and takes the viewer right out of the experience.  Fortunately for this film, the story and acting made up for the bad camera use.

If you like a good sci-fi story that moves along pretty well and is told very well, I think you will like this film.

Synopsis:

"Push" goes deep into the deadly world of psychic espionage where paranormal operatives have the ability to move objects with their minds, see the future and kill without ever touching their victims. Against this setting, a young man and a teenage girl take on a clandestine agency.

The Division, a shadowy government agency, is genetically transforming citizens into an army of psychic warriors. Nick Gant (Chris Evans), a second-generation telekinetic or "mover," has been in hiding for more than a decade. He has found sanctuary in densely populated Hong Kong—the last safe place on earth for fugitive psychics like him—but only if he can keep his gift a secret.

Nick is forced out of hiding when Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning), a 13-year-old clairvoyant or "watcher," seeks his help in finding Kira, (Camilla Belle), an escaped "pusher" who may hold the key to ending the Division’s program. Pushers possess the most dangerous of all psychic powers: the ability to influence others’ actions by implanting thoughts in their minds. But Cassie’s presence soon attracts the attention of the Division’s human bloodhounds, forcing Nick and Cassie to flee for their lives.

With the help of a team of rogue psychics, the unlikely duo traverses the seedy underbelly of the city, trying to stay one step ahead of the authorities as they search for Kira. But they find themselves square in the crosshairs of Division Agent Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou), a pusher who will stop at nothing to keep them from achieving their goal.