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Perseus and the Lost Meteors

What’s the best way to watch a meteor shower? This question might come up later this week when the annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks. One thing that is helpful is a dark sky, as demonstrated in the featured composite image of last year’s Perseids. Many more faint meteors are visible on the left image, taken through a very dark sky in Slovakia, than on the right image, taken through a moderately dark sky in the Czech Republic. The band of the Milky Way Galaxy bridges the two coordinated images, while the meteor shower radiant in the constellation of Perseus is clearly visible on the left. In sum, many faint meteors are lost through a bright sky. Light pollution is shrinking areas across our Earth with dark skies, although inexpensive ways to combat this might be implemented. via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210809.html

A Perseid Below

Earthlings typically watch meteor showers by looking up. But this remarkable view, captured on August 13, 2011 by astronaut Ron Garan, caught a Perseid meteor by looking down. From Garan’s perspective onboard the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of about 380 kilometers, the Perseid meteors streak below, swept up dust left from comet Swift-Tuttle heated to incandescence. The glowing comet dust grains are traveling at about 60 kilometers per second through the denser atmosphere around 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. In this case, the foreshortened meteor flash is right of frame center, below the curving limb of the Earth and a layer of greenish airglow, just below bright star Arcturus. Want to look up at a meteor shower? You’re in luck, as the 2021 Perseids meteor shower peaks this week. This year, even relatively faint meteors should be visible through clear skies from a dark location as the bright Moon will mostly absent. via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210808.html

Jezero Crater: Raised Ridges in 3D

Get out your red-blue glasses and hover over the surface of Mars. Taken on July 24, the 3D color view is from the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter’s 10th flight above the Red Planet. Two images from Ingenuity’s color camera, both captured at an altitude of 12 meters (40 feet), but a few meters apart to provide a stereo perspective, were used to construct the color anaglyph. Ingenuity’s stereo images were made at the request of the Mars Perseverance rover science team. The team is considering a visit to these raised ridges on the floor of Jezero Crater during Perseverance’s first science campaign. via NASA https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210807.html