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Please don’t unfriend me April 8, 2020

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy.
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I'm sorry I missed our lunch 
But I read this article today 
From Facebook 
About de stressing 
By getting rid of all
The people who stress
You out unnecessarily. 
You know the ones -
They show up in your feed
'Cause once 
3 years ago
You had a conversation 
In the comments
Of a friend of a friend
You used to know
But you've kinda
Lost touch since 
They stopped using Facebook. 
But this friend of a friend of a friend
Liked this aggregator 
5 years ago 
So Facebook thought
You should check out 
The latest story it has
And 
I was reading it and 
I started to wonder 
Which of my friends 
Thought it was a good enough
Article to share?
But I can’t figure that out.
So I have missed our lunch
And I am starting to wonder 
If it was shared by a friend
Or if it was Facebook...


Its A.I.


Trying to warn me
That I have become 
That person
The one who stresses other people out. 

NaPoWriMo 2020 April 1, 2020

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, poetry.
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Like many others this year, I am working from home. Maybe I’ll have time for some blog updates, or poetry. I won’t promise to write one every day, but we’ll see how many I do get out.

You may regret following me.

Here’s a limerick to kick things off. Limericks are always an excellent choice.

This verse is neither, I fear
Particularly clever or clear
But as poetry goes
It certainly shows
You couldn’t do worse than start here. 

Meteor Shower Season 2019 August 1, 2019

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy.
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Late July & Early August is full of meteor showers!

Two different showers originate in Aquarius. They tend to be low activity, but the July 30/August 1 new moon give you a better chance than usual of seeing something good!

Of course the most famous shower of the year is the Peseids. This year they peak around August 13, just in time for the full Moon. Fortunately, this very active shower not only has a high number of meteors at its peak, it has a really long period of activity before its peak.

There are also a couple other minor meteor showers, and you might catch one of two of those in the wee hours. Check out the AMS Meteor Activity Outlook for this week (July 27 – August 2) for more details.

It’s best to observe in the early morning hours. Meteors happen when the Earth runs into debris floating in space. In the early morning, you (the observer) are facing the same direction that Earth is traveling through space, so you’ll see more of the debris hitting the Earth. Also, at the beginning of August, the Moon will set early, and darker skies are important!

In the first week of August, you might spot 10 – 20 meteors per hour. Look eastward until about 3 AM, then turn southward until sunrise.

Here’s a map of the eastern sky at 1 AM on August 1st. Perseus is on the left (NE), Aquarius on the right (SE).

Looking east from Ann Arbor at 1AM August 1st.

Looking east from Ann Arbor at 1AM August 1st.

Don’t miss the Geminids! December 5, 2018

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy, MichiganAstro.
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One of the best meteor showers of the year takes up most of the month of December, but will be best on the mornings of December 13 & 14.

Rising ENE a little after 7 PM, the radiant of the Geminids is up nearly all night. As always, the best time to watch for meteors is in the hours between midnight and dawn, since that’s when your sky is facing the direction Earth is traveling, so heres a map for December 14 at 2 AM.

14Dec0205_z

The sky from 42º latitude at 2 AM on December 14, 2018. Note Orion toward the SW, and the Big Dipper in the NW. Click for bigger image.

Conveniently, the Moon sets at about 10 PM the evening before, so if you can get away from city lights, you’ll have good dark skies for the best observing time. This is an active shower though, so it’s work going out and looking anytime you happen to be up and the weather is clear.

According to the AMS, the Geminids have a peak rate of about 120 meteors per hour (or about 2 per minute), tying them with January’s Quadrantids for highest rate. The usually lousy weather of December makes them much less famous, and harder to watch, than the August Perseids.

Additionally, Earth&Sky points out this shower has a high number of earth-grazers – meteors that come in at a low angle and appear slow moving. They’re actually moving pretty fast – they’re coming up from behind and hitting the Earth, like a stone hitting your back  or side car windows while you’re driving down the road. They’re rare, but memorable, and only visible in the evening.

So get out and look for Gemini as often as you can from now ’till Christmas!