May’s Eta Aquariad Meteor Shower

Milky Way over Au Sable Point Lighthouse

Milky Way over Au Sable Point Lighthouse, photo by Michigan Nut

EarthSky shares details on this week’s Eta Aquarid meteor shower:

In 2016, the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquarid meteors to light up the predawn darkness on May 5 and 6. It should be a good year for this shower, with the May 6 new moon guaranteeing deliciously dark skies for the 2016 Eta Aquarids. This shower favors the Southern Hemisphere, ranking as one of the finest showers of the year. At mid-northern latitudes, these meteors don’t fall so abundantly, though mid-northern meteor watchers will catch some, too, and might be lucky enough to catch an earthgrazer – a bright, long-lasting meteor that travels horizontally across the sky – before dawn.

Halley’s Comet is the source of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Every year, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Halley’s Comet in late April and May, so bits and pieces from this comet light up the nighttime as Eta Aquarid meteors. This shower is said to be active from April 19 to May 20, although Earth plows most deeply into this stream of comet debris around May 5 or 6.

The comet dust smashes into Earth’s upper atmosphere at nearly 240,000 kilometers (150,000 miles) per hour. Roughly half of these swift-moving meteors leave persistent trains – ionized gas trails that glow for a few seconds after the meteor has passed.

They add that early morning is the best time to see them and that the broad peak of the Eta Aquarids may present a decent showing of meteors during the predawn hours on May 4 and May 7 as well! Read on for more.

View John’s photo bigger, see more in his Starry Nights slideshow and definitely follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook!

More about the Au Sable Lighthouse in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan in Pictures!

Above Frankfort Harbor

Above Frankfort Harbor

Frankfort Harbor, photo by Julie

My friend Enrico of Traverse Today and his sons shared a great aerial video from Frankfort the other day:

Julie took this stunning shot last Saturday. View her photo bigger and see more in her Drone shots slideshow.

Lots more from Frankfort on Michigan in Pictures.

Quiet Night at Frankfort Lighthouse

Frankfort Lighthouse at Night

Quiet Night at Frankfort Lighthouse, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

I was going to talk this morning about how I will continue to talk about what I want to talk about on Michigan in Pictures, but then I saw this awesome photo by Heather. I’m sure you get the idea.

On her Snap Happy Gal blog where you can view & purchase some great lighthouse photos, Heather writes:

I think of myself as a serendipitous shooter: I go out to scenes in all kinds of light – the good, the bad, even the ugly – and I take photos. Sometimes I walk away with artwork worth sharing, and sometimes I just walk away with happy memories. I don’t often stalk a scene for the best light, I don’t think of myself as having a favorite thing to photograph, and I don’t find that I’m predictable (even I don’t know when or where I’ll be heading out to shoot until I get the itch). But, lately, if you wanted to catch me out and about, you’d look at northern Michigan’s west coast lighthouses.

I’ve visited every one of them from Manistee up to Northport (though I didn’t take the camera out), and I’ve been there from sunrise to sunset, and well into the night.

Last Wednesday, I checked the weather and saw something I hadn’t seen in what felt like eons: the possibility for clear night skies. I packed my gear, my cold weather clothes, and food and water, and headed for the coast. I missed the best light in an incredible sunset, but caught the afterglow and the first light of the moon on the lakeshore just south of Empire. While the skies were still cloudy, I headed south into Frankfort to see how the ice was shaping up along the beach. By this time, the winds had died down almost entirely. The water inside the breakwall was very still, the forming ice chattered, and tiny waves sloshed against the icebergs beached on the sand.

Read on for the rest, view & comment on her picture on Facebook, and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal for great pics of lighthouses and much more.

More about the Frankfort North Breakwater Light on Michigan in Pictures.

Morning Light at the Manistee Pierhead Light

Manistee Lighthouse

Manistee Morning Light, photo by Heather Higham

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has an extensive entry on the history of the Manistee Pierhead Light with copious information and historical photos. Terry goes deep on Manistee’s history as a lumber port:

Although the first sawmill had been established on the banks of the Manistee in 1841, settlement in the area was not widespread until the Chippewa relinquished their reservation by treaty in 1849, and the federal government offered lands along the Manistee for public sale. It did not take lumber interests long to realize the incredible potential of the Manistee which snaked a hundred miles into the forests, and lumbermen soon began lobbying for federal funding to improve the harbor and to erect a lighthouse at the river mouth. With no appropriation forthcoming, the businessmen of Manistee took the matter into their own hands, erecting a pair of short stub piers at the river mouth in an attempt to stem the deposition of sand and silt.

In 1861, Congress instructed the Army Corps of Engineers to dispatch an Engineer Officer to Manistee to conduct a survey of the river entrance. Water depth in the opening between the piers was found to be from seven to eight feet, and a 250-foot long sand bar with a water depth of less than five feet above it was identified 600 feet off the end of the piers.

…To serve this burgeoning maritime commerce, the piers were extended an additional 150 feet in 1875, and the channel between them dredged to a minimum depth of ten feet. With the main light now standing a considerable distance to the rear of the pierheads, the decision was made to replace the shore light on the north bank with a pierhead beacon on the outer end of the longer south pier. Click to view enlarged image The new south pierhead light consisted of a timber-framed pyramidal beacon typical of the type being erected on pierheads throughout the Great Lakes. With its lower half open, the upper half immediately below the gallery was enclosed to provide a small service room for lamp maintenance. Equipped with windows, the service room also served as a sheltered area in which the keeper could stand watch during inclement weather. Standing 27 feet in height, the beacon was capped with a square gallery with iron handrails and an octagonal cast iron lantern installed at its center.

Read on for a whole lot more.

About the photo, Heather writes:

I still can’t believe I managed to drag myself out of bed this morning. There were 8 minutes of pink light – and a stunning sunrise to the east that I completely ignored – followed by about 90 minutes of interesting (if not sunrise) light.

View it bigger, see more in her Lighthouses slideshow and definitely add Snap Happy Gal Photography to your Facebook follows!

More Michigan Lighthouses and more sweet sunrises on Michigan in Pictures.

Blue Hour at the St Joseph Pier

Blue Hour at the St Joseph Pier

Untitled, photo by Spencer D Hughes

If you want to take a look at the Pier from the beach, check out the St Joseph webcam. Have a great weekend everyone!!

View Spencer’s photo bigger and see more of his awesome St Joseph photos. Some seriously cool ice shots in there.

PS: Here’s a link to more information and a photo of the St. Joseph North Pier Outer & Inner Lights from almost exactly a year ago – lots more ice.

PPS: I’d love it if you’d become a patron of Michigan in Pictures. Thanks to all who have so far – I really appreciate it!

Promise Fulfilled

Promise Fulfilled

Promise Fulfilled, photo by Heather Higham

Although I just featured a sunset photo by Heather … Wow!

She took this last night and writes: A break at the horizon that spouted god rays all afternoon hinted a the potential for a lightshow at sundown. We were not disappointed, though we were very cold.

View the photo bigger, see more in her Sunsets slideshow, and follow Heather at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook.

Click for more about the Frankfort Pier Lights and a super cool winter photo by Jason Lome.

 

Ice is Nice at the Menominee Light Lighthouse

Ice is Nice Menominee Light Lighthouse

Ice is Nice, photo by cohodas208c

I’ll never miss a chance to tout Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light as one of the premier resources for information about Michigan’s lighthouses, as well as others on the Great Lakes. He packs them full of the history including the political maneuverings and economic reasons for lighthouse development and closure and peppers in (sorry – couldn’t resist) historical photos and pictures from his own visits.

The entry on the Menominee North Pier Light details the lumber boom that led to the construction of the first lighthouse in 1877 and the development of the iron ore rich Menominee Range. He continues:

The town of Menominee continued to reap the benefits of the Range, and as a result significant harbor improvements were undertaken in the 1920’s, At their completion in 1927, a prefabricated octagonal cast iron tower was delivered by vessel, and lowered onto the pier.

The thirty-four foot tower was painted white, and integrated with an attached fog signal building. An elevated wooden catwalk stretched along the wooden pier to provide the keepers with safe access to the light during periods when waves crashed across the surface of the pier. The octagonal cast iron lantern room was outfitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens of unknown manufacture.

At some point thereafter, the wooden pier was replaced by a concrete structure with a forty-foot diameter circular crib at its offshore end. At this time, the fog signal was eliminated with the inclusion of an automated electrically operated signal in the tower. With automation of the light in 1972, the need for daily maintenance of the light was also eliminated, and the iron catwalk was removed from the pier.

The tower was painted bright red, and relocated to a white painted concrete platform in the center of the crib. Its elevated position on the pier provided a focal plane of forty-six feet.

While the catwalk no longer snakes its way along the pier, the iron tower still stands guard over the harbor entrance, its jewel-like Fresnel lens replaced by a stark modern 300mm plastic lens.

Read on for more at Seeing the Light.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in cohodas208c’s Big City Breakout – Dec 2015 slideshow.

Lots more Michigan lighthouses and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!