Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What'd I Miss?

Well, I didn't miss any Giants baseball or Formula One racing over the weekend!

I gave a shot at seeing the Lyrid Meteor Shower Saturday night. I walked into the back yard at the Ancestral Digs, and despite the high level of urban light pollution, I saw a shooting star in about 20 seconds! Even with a New Moon, the meteorite was very washed-out by the ambient light...satisfied I wasn't going to miss an awesome show, I headed back inside.

To really view any meteor shower, you should try to find a place where the sky is dark enough to see the Milky Way. Saturday night, I could only see a few dozen stars

Sunday morning people from Winnemucca, NV to Sacramento, CA to Bakersfield, CA heard the sonic boom of a meteor exploding over the Sierra Nevada foothills. Scientists who study these things say the meteor was about the size of a minivan, and released the energy of five kilotons of TNT!

Lisa Warren photo courtesy Reno Gazette Journal
The meteor was visible in the bright morning sky just before 8AM.

With the Giants-Mets game postponed due to the big nor'easter that pounded the Northeast, I listened to the radio most of Sunday. The meteor became national news by dinnertime in New York.

There's lots of news stories about the meteor:

"American Meteor Society: 82 Records Found for Event 588"

" Sierra Fireball Decoded"

"Scientist says sound signal from exploding meteor lasted 18 minutes"

"Fireball over California/Nevada: How Big Was It?"

"Local resident's photo of Sunday's meteor goes international"

I was fast asleep Sunday morning, and read no reports of the blast being heard in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You know what they always say...Snooze, you lose...

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