No Perseids for you!

Armed with a clear sky alert from http://cleardarksky.com I was convinced that last night would have been a good night to get some astronomy adventures in with the boys and check out a few meteors from the peaking Perseids meteor shower. I set the camera up to capture the spectacle and loaded Stellarium up on the laptop for some sky tours as we waited for the sky to darken. We headed out to Northampton Park west of Rochester to see what we could see. It looked like there were quite a few clouds in the West but the East was looking good so we thought that it would be all right.

We drove around a bit trying to find the ski lodge where the star parties are held and, upon finding it, settled in and waited for it to get dark. And clear. It got dark. That's about it as the clouds moved in from West to East and obliterated the view that we were hoping to find upon our arrival. Such is astronomical observations in just about everywhere other than the desert: the clouds we will always have with us.

While we were waiting we did have the chance to look at Stellarium where I showed the boys the approximate location of the meteors, between Cassiopeia and Perseus, and that Perseus was getting higher and higher in the sky as the night wore on. I think that Northampton was probably not the best place to view the shower as we had to look towards the Northeast to see the meteors and the sky glow from Rochester was a bit much in that direction. I think a better spot would have been Mendon Ponds park as it is further South and the East would not have been dominated by the city.

It was still a great time to hang out with the boys and to do at least some simulated astronomical observations. These are the times that I love to share with them and will be looking at doing this in greater measure as we progress through their astronomy curriculum this year.

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