Tag Archives: Star Party

Perseid Meteor Shower Expected to Peak August 12-13, 2012 – Star Party Portland, OR

(From our friends at OMSI)

August 12, 2012 – OMSI Star Parties: Perseid Meteor Shower Watch

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is getting ready for its largest star party of the year on Sunday, August 12, the Perseid Meteor Shower Watch! Hundreds of star lovers from across the Pacific Northwest will be meeting at both Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park at 8 p.m. to watch and enjoy the wonder of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The event, sponsored by OMSI, the Rose City Astronomers, the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers and Oregon Parks and Recreations will have telescopes set up for attendees to use. OMSI staff will be presenting informal talks about the meteor shower, constellations, and the summer sky.

The event is free, and there is a $5 per vehicle parking fee for public. On the scheduled day of each OMSI Star Party, it is suggested that interested visitors call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, (503) 797-4610 #3 then #5, or check the OMSI Star Parties web site http://www.omsi.edu/starparties for possible weather-related cancellations.

photo of a meteor shower

Watch the Meteor Shower with OMSI!

The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs when the Earth enters the path of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its last trip past the Sun. Swift-Tuttle follows a highly eccentric orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of about 130 years. The comet last passed by the Earth in December 1992. Timing is not precise, but according to the American Meteor Society, the 2012 peak is expected on August 12th at around 9:00 p.m. PDT (0400 hours UT on August 13). There is some uncertainty, so it’s very worthwhile to observe on either side of this time. The OMSI Star Parties will be held on the night of August 12 and into the early morning of August 13. Estimate peak rates for this year’s Perseid is near 60 for those under transparent rural skies. Those under dark but hazy skies should still be able to see 30 to 40 Perseids per hour. Those under urban skies will be lucky to exceed 10 to 20 per hour. Fortunately, this year will have the waning crescent moon on August 12 and will be a nonfactor for viewing the fainter meteors of the Perseids. While viewing the Perseids, we will look at the close pairing of Saturn and Mars. As a bonus, the International Space Station will be visible on the same night.

An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower. Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. This meteor shower gets the name “Perseids” because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus. An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Perseid meteors as early as July 23, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next three weeks, there is a slow build-up. It is possible to spot five Perseids per hour at the beginning of August and perhaps 15 per hour by August 10. The Perseids rapidly increase to a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour by the night of August 12/13 and then rapidly decline to about 10 per hour by August 15. The last night meteors are likely to be seen from this meteor shower is August 22, when an observer might see a Perseid every hour or so.

“Shooting stars” are intense streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of interplanetary rock and debris called meteoroids crashing and burning high in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Traveling at thousands of miles an hour, meteoroids quickly ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 30 to 80 miles above the ground. Almost all are destroyed in this process; the rare few that survive and hit the ground are known as meteorites.

Most people do not know how easy it is to watch a meteor shower. Although it is Summer, evening temperatures can drop and jackets may be a necessity. Choose an observing location giving a wide view of the sky with as few obstructions as possible. If you’re viewing from the city, try to observe where artificial lights interfere the least. Places like Rooster Rock State Park, Stub Stewart State Park, Mt Hood area, or eastern Oregon are popular locations for dark sky in viewing the meteor shower. Possible to watch it from the comfort of your backyard, but only the bright meteors would be visible. Meteor watching is basically an unaided-eye event but binoculars are handy for watching trails (persistent trains) that may hang in the sky for one or more seconds after a meteor’s passage.

The Radiant will be low in the northeast sky after sunset. For early evening viewing, be outside about the time the first stars appear. The Radiant will be low in the northeast but don’t concentrate just on that one area, but rather, let your gaze wander over a large portion of the sky. Meteors that appear near the Radiant will have short paths while those that begin farther out have much longer ones. In the early evening you may spot a few so-called Earth Grazers which can blaze long trails across the sky. They’re not likely to be numerous but do appear, sometimes at the rate of half a dozen or more an hour.

As the hours pass the Radiant rises higher and between about midnight and dawn the greatest number of meteors can be seen. Viewing through city lights will reduce their numbers considerably but the brighter ones will show up nicely.

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OMSI Star Party in Portland, OR Area – July 28, 2012

(from our friends at OMSI)

OMSI Star Party: Lunar Viewing

July 28, 9:30 pm, at Rooster Rock State Park or L.L. Stub Stewart State Park

Cost: Free with $5 parking per vehicle fee

Earth’s moon will be in a perfect position for viewing on this day, as the angle of the sun causes deep shadows to fall on its surface, making its highlands and craters more easily visible. Together with the Rose City Astronomers and the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers, OMSI has organized these star parties to give beginners and experts of all ages the opportunity to view this and other celestial objects up close and personal through a telescope and binoculars. Other viewing highlights include Mars, Saturn and several star clusters.  On the scheduled day of each OMSI Star Party, it is suggested that interested visitors call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, 503.797.4610 #3 then #5, or check the OMSI Star Parties web site http://www.omsi.edu/starparties for possible weather-related cancellations.

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Free OMSI Star Party – Portland, OR Area – June 30, 2012

OMSI Star Party

Join OMSI in the Portland area for free star parties throughout the summer!

(From our friends at OMSI)

OMSI Star Party: Summer Solstice Celebration
June 30, 9:30 pm at Rooster Rock State Park or L.L. Stub Stewart State Park
Cost: Free with $5 parking per vehicle fee

Astronomers will celebrate the beginning of summer with a free Star Party! Join us at Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, weather permitting. From beginners to experts of all ages, here’s your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescope and binoculars. Viewing highlights includes Mars, Saturn, the moon, several clusters, and more! On the scheduled day of each OMSI Star Party, it is suggested that interested visitors call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, 503.797.4610 #3 then #5, or check the OMSI Star Parties web site http://www.omsi.edu/starparties for possible weather-related cancellations.

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Transit of Venus Event – June 5, 2012 at OMSI in Portland, OR

Transit of Venus

Watch the Transit of Venus on June 5-6, 2012

CELESTIAL EVENT OF A LIFETIME
Rare transit of Venus viewing: June 5, 2012 from 3‐9 p.m. at OMSI

Portland, OR (May 29, 2012) The last to occur in our lifetime, a rare celestial event called a transit of Venus is set to transpire on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Rose City Astronomers Club will host a free transit of Venus viewing party in OMSI’s south parking lot for this exciting occurrence. Filtered solar telescopes and indirect viewing methods will be available for safely observing the transit. NASA TV and San Francisco’s Exploratorium will display the transit of Venus from viewing sites around the world. OMSI will show their broadcasts live in the museum’s auditorium. The auditorium doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and admission to the televised transit is free (no reservations required).

A transit of Venus is the observed passage of the planet Venus across the disk of the sun. It occurs when Venus, orbiting the sun “on the inside track,” catches up to and passes the slower Earth. To viewers, Venus will appear as a small dot in the foreground, making its passage (or “transit”) from left to right across the face of the sun.

For Portland, the transit will commence at 3:05 p.m. when Venus appears to the east of the Sun. The greatest transit movement will occur at 6:29 p.m. when Venus appears just off-center to the right of the northern area of the sun. The sun will set at 8:55 p.m. and the transit will end at 9:44 p.m. as Venus exits to the west of the sun.

It is important to use eye protection or indirect viewing techniques when observing this transit activity. Viewers should use only an approved solar filter which blocks dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well as visible light. Special solar viewing glasses are available at the OMSI Science Store for $2 (http://www.omsi.edu/science-store).

Transits of Venus always occur in pairs that are spaced eight years apart. Each pair of occurrences is then not repeated for more than a century. For example, the last transit of Venus took place on June 8, 2004, and of course the next one will be visible this June of 2012. The previous pair of transits occurred in December, 1874 and December, 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will take place in December, 2117 and December, 2125.

Learn how to view the Venus transit with the experts by joining us for the event at OMSI! You can find more information by visiting http://www.omsi.edu/starparties or by calling 503.797.4000.

About OMSI
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit http://www.omsi.edu.

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OMSI Star Party – Perseid Meteor Shower Watch August 12, 2011

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is getting ready for its largest star party of the year on Friday, August 12, the Perseid Meteor Shower Watch! Hundreds of star lovers from across the Pacific Northwest will be meeting at both Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park at 9 p.m. to watch and enjoy the wonder of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The event, sponsored by OMSI, the Rose City Astronomers, the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers and Oregon Parks and Recreations will have telescopes set up for attendees to use. OMSI staff will be presenting informal talks about the meteor shower, constellations, and the summer sky.

The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs when the Earth enters the path of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its last trip past the Sun. Swift-Tuttle follows a highly eccentric orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of about 130 years. The comet last passed by the Earth in December 1992. Timing is not precise, but according to the American Meteor Society, the 2011 peak is expected on August 12th at around 9:00 p.m. PDT (0400 hours UT on August 13). There is some uncertainty, so it’s very worthwhile to observe on either side of this time. The OMSI Star Parties will be held on the night of August 12 and into the early morning of August 13. Estimate peak rates for this year’s Perseid is near 60 for those under transparent rural skies. Those under dark but hazy skies should still be able to see 30 to 40 Perseids per hour. Those under urban skies will be lucky to exceed 10 to 20 per hour. Unfortunately, this year will have the full moon on August 12 and will be a factor for viewing the fainter meteors of the Perseids. While viewing the Perseids, we will look at the Moon, Saturn and later Jupiter. As a bonus, the International Space Station will be visible on the same night.

To reach Rooster Rock State Park, take I-84 east of the Sandy River at exit 25. The park is located 22 miles east of Portland. To reach L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, take US-26 west of Portland and turn right on OR-47. The park is located 23 miles west of Portland. The event is free, and there is a $5 per vehicle parking fee for public. For possible weather cancellation, call (503) 797-4610 on August 12 after 4:00 PM to get the latest information.

Background:
An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower. Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. This meteor shower gets the name “Perseids” because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus. An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Perseid meteors as early as July 23, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next three weeks, there is a slow build-up. It is possible to spot five Perseids per hour at the beginning of August and perhaps 15 per hour by August 10. The Perseids rapidly increase to a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour by the night of August 12/13 and then rapidly decline to about 10 per hour by August 15. The last night meteors are likely to be seen from this meteor shower is August 22, when an observer might see a Perseid every hour or so.

“Shooting stars” are intense streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of interplanetary rock and debris called meteoroids crashing and burning high in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Traveling at thousands of miles an hour, meteoroids quickly ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 30 to 80 miles above the ground. Almost all are destroyed in this process; the rare few that survive and hit the ground are known as meteorites.

Most people do not know how easy it is to watch a meteor shower. Although it is Summer, evening temperatures can drop and jackets may be a necessity. Choose an observing location giving a wide view of the sky with as few obstructions as possible. If you’re viewing from the city, try to observe where artificial lights interfere the least. Places like Rooster Rock State Park, Mt Hood area, or eastern Oregon are popular locations for dark sky in viewing the meteor shower. Possible to watch it from the comfort of your backyard, but only the bright meteors would be visible. Meteor watching is basically an unaided-eye event but binoculars are handy for watching trails (persistent trains) that may hang in the sky for one or more seconds after a meteor’s passage.

The Radiant will be low in the northeast sky after sunset. For early evening viewing, be outside about the time the first stars appear. The Radiant will be low in the northeast but don’t concentrate just on that one area, but rather, let your gaze wander over a large portion of the sky. Meteors that appear near the Radiant will have short paths while those that begin farther out have much longer ones. In the early evening you may spot a few so-called Earth Grazers which can blaze long trails across the sky. They’re not likely to be numerous but do appear, sometimes at the rate of half a dozen or more an hour.

As the hours pass the Radiant rises higher and between about midnight and dawn the greatest number of meteors can be seen. Viewing through city lights will reduce their numbers considerably but the brighter ones will show up nicely.

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Perseid Meteor Shower – OMSI Star Party in Oregon – August 12, 2010

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is getting ready for its largest star party of the year on Thursday, August 12! Stargazers will be meeting at both Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park at 9 p.m. to watch and enjoy the wonder of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

August brings one of the year’s most famous and enjoyed meteor shower – the Perseid Meteor Shower. Hundreds of star lovers from across the Pacific Northwest are expected to attend OMSI’s biggest star show of the year. The event is sponsored by OMSI, the Rose City Astronomers, the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers and Oregon Parks and Recreations. At both Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, volunteers will have set up telescopes for attendees to use.

The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs when the Earth enters the path of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its last trip past the Sun. Swift-Tuttle follows a highly eccentric orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of about 130 years. The comet last passed by the Earth in December 1992.

Timing is not precise, but according to the American Meteor Society, the 2010 peak is expected on August 12th at around 5:00 p.m. PDT (0100 hours UT on August 13).  There is some uncertainty, so it’s very worthwhile to observe on either side of this time.  The OMSI Star Parties will be held on the night of August 12 and into the early morning of August 13.  Estimate peak rates for this year’s Perseid is near 60 for those under transparent rural skies. Those under dark but hazy skies should still be able to see 30-40 Perseids per hour. Those under urban skies will be lucky to exceed 20 per hour.  The waxing crescent moon will set at 9:23 p.m. on August 12 and will be a non-factor for viewing the Perseids.

To reach Rooster Rock State Park, take I-84 east of the Sandy River at exit 25. The park is located 22 miles east of Portland.  To reach L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, take US-26 west of Portland and turn right on OR-47. The park is located 23 miles west of Portland.  The event is free, and there is a $5 per vehicle parking fee for public. For possible weather cancellation, call (503) 797-4610 on August 12 after 4:00 PM to get the latest information.

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Vernal Equinox Start Parties in Oregon – March 27, 2010

(From our friends at OMSI, Portland Oregon)

On Saturday March 27, OMSI, Rose City Astronomers and Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers will celebrate the vernal equinox and the beginning of spring with a free Star Party at both Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park! From beginners to experts of all ages, here’s your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. Viewing highlights includes the planets Venus, Mercury, Mars and Saturn, waxing gibbous Moon, deep sky objects including the Orion Nebula, Beehive star cluster and more!

Join us as we gaze at the spring night sky at Rooster Rock State Park, located 22 miles east of Portland on I-84 just east of Sandy River at exit 25. To reach L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, take US-26 west of Portland and turn right on OR-47. The event starts at 7:30 pm and is free with $5 parking per vehicle. Warm clothing and a flashlight with red light are recommended. Personal telescopes and binoculars are welcome.

On the scheduled day of each OMSI Star Parties, it is suggested that interested visitors call the OMSI Star Parties Hotline, (503) 797-4610 #2, or check the OMSI Star Parties web site for possible weather-related cancellations.

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Perseid Meteor Shower Star Party – August 11, 2009

(from our friends at OMSI in Portland, OR)
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is getting ready for its largest star party of the year on August 11! Stargazers will be meeting at both Rooster Rock State Park and Stub Stewart State Park at 9 p.m. to watch and enjoy the wonder of the Perseid Meteor Shower.

August brings one of the year’s most famous and enjoyed meteor shower – the Perseid Meteor Shower. Hundreds of star lovers from across the Pacific Northwest are expected to attend OMSI’s biggest star show of the year. The event is sponsored by OMSI, the Rose City Astronomers, the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers and Oregon Parks and Recreations. At both Rooster Rock State Park and L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, volunteers will have set up telescopes for attendees to use.

The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs when the Earth enters the path of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its last trip past the Sun. Swift-Tuttle follows a highly eccentric orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of about 130 years. The comet last passed by the Earth in December 1992.

Timing is not precise, but the 2009 peak is expected on August 12th at around 8:00 a.m. PDT (15.00 hours UT). There is some uncertainty, so it’s very worthwhile to observe on either side of this time. The OMSI Star Parties will be held on the night of August 11 and into the early morning of August 12. This strong annual shower can produce 20 to 60 meteors an hour, though because of the light pollution and other factors, “many are too faint to see with the naked eye,” says Jim Todd, OMSI’s Planetarium manager. “Still, an observer in a dark subdivision can hope to see few meteors on the peak nights. And there is also a potentially prominent waning gibbous Moon to contend with. It will not set below the horizon until the early hours of the morning. Under these conditions, you might see a Perseid or two each minute.”

To reach Rooster Rock State Park, take I-84 east of the Sandy River at exit 25. The park is located 22 miles east of Portland. To reach L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, take US-26 west of Portland and turn right on OR-47. The park is located 23 miles west of Portland. The event is free, and there is a $3 per vehicle parking fee for public. For possible weather cancellation, call (503) 797-4610 on August 11 after 4:00 PM to get the latest information.

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