My heart is heavy this morning after watching a day of chaos in our nation’s Capitol & realizing that there’s nothing I or anyone can really say to those who reject the principles this country was founded upon. Stay safe everyone.
Science News has an excellent story by Ken Crowswell on the Geminid Meteor Shower which peaks this Sunday night (December 13) when:
…countless meteors will shoot across the sky as space particles burn up in our atmosphere and meet a fiery end. Most meteor showers occur when Earth slams into debris left behind by a comet. But not this meteor shower, which is likely to be the most spectacular of the year. Known as the Geminid shower, it strikes every December and arises not from a flamboyant comet but from an ordinary asteroid — the first, but not the last, linked to a meteor shower.
…Unlike the Perseid meteors, which people have been observing for nearly 2,000 years, the Geminids are relatively new. First reports of their existence came from England and the United States in 1862. The shower in those days was weak, producing at most only one or two dozen meteors an hour. During the 20th century, however, the shower strengthened. Nowadays, at the shower’s peak, a single observer under a dark sky can see more than 100 meteors an hour. That’s better than most Perseid performances.
A heat-seeking spacecraft named the Infrared Astronomical Satellite discovered a small asteroid & Harvard astronomer Fred Whipple noticed it followed the same path around the sun as the particles in the Geminid meteoroid stream:
The newfound asteroid, Whipple declared, must be their long-sought source. The find also explained why the meteoroids were so dense: They come from a space rock rather than an icy comet.
The asteroid revolves around the sun every 1.43 years and comes very close to the sun, cutting well inside the orbit of Mercury, the innermost planet. Astronomers therefore christened the asteroid Phaethon, a son of Helios the sun god in Greek mythology. At its farthest, Phaethon ventures beyond the orbit of Mars and reaches the asteroid belt, home of the largest space rocks, between the paths of Mars and Jupiter.
There’s so much more right here – a truly excellent article if you have the time!
I’ve featured this photo Ken took in December of 2012 before – he’s one of the best for night sky pics! As we’re heading into the holidays, definitely consider one of Ken’s Leelanau calendars – they’re fantastic! Follow Ken on Facebook for the latest & see more in his massive Skies Above gallery on Flickr.
Michigan is drowning right now in some of the worst rains on record. Every day for the last two weeks, from Midland to Grand Rapids to Traverse City, my feed has been full of images of people losing everything to flooding. PLEASE send rainbows.
Just so this post isn’t a totally depressing send-off for your weekend, let me call in one of my favorite websites, Atmospheric Optics. Regarding secondary rainbows or “double rainbows” they say that the secondary is nearly always fainter than the primary, with colors reversed and more widely separated:
Light can be reflected more than once inside a raindrop. Rays escaping after two reflections make a secondary bow.
The secondary has a radius of 51º and lies some 9º outside the primary bow. It is broader, 1.8X the width of the primary, and its colours are reversed so that the reds of the two bows always face one another. The secondary has 43% of the total brightness of the primary but its surface brightness is lower than that because its light is spread over its greater angular extent. The primary and secondary are are concentric, sharing the antisolar point for a center.
mLive reports that the Blue Angels & 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard will conduct flyovers over eight Michigan cities to show support for front-line workers:
The flyovers by the Air National Guard are designed to show solidarity with Michiganders and support for healthcare workers, first responders, military members and other essential personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Those flyovers are tentatively scheduled over two days.
The first flyover is scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, over the cities of Marquette, Lansing and Flint. A KC-135 Stratotanker, which is a type of mid-air refueling aircraft, will participate. That same day, May 12, one or more A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as “Warthogs,” will fly over the cities of Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.
…On May 12, the U.S. Navy’s legendary Blue Angels will also fly over Detroit. The route and time are scheduled to be released Monday. The last flyover in the series is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, over Novi and Detroit. Both the A-10 and KC-135 will participate.
Michael took this photo at the 2016 National Cherry Festival (postponed to 2021 btw). See more in his Airshows album on Flickr!
WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit shared a feature last year on the Michigan UFO Craze of 1966:
In 1966, a string of seemingly odd occurrences in Washtenaw County drew the attention of the entire country. The events centered on a sudden wave of UFO sightings, with reports by police and citizens in March 1966.
The same lights were spotted by officers in Ohio, just across the Michigan border, and by observers at Selfridge Air Force Base. The sightings triggered investigations by the Civil Defense and U.S. Air Force.
A few days following the first reports, the lights were spotted again at various locations around Washtenaw County, with one deputy reporting something floating in the sky – described as looking like a “child’s top.”
On Sunday, March 20, 1966, the sheriff’s office received reports of a UFO landing in a wooded, swamp area of Dexter Township. Police spoke to Frank Mannor, a truck driver who had gone into the swamp with his son. Here’s what Mannor told police:
“We got to about 500 yards of the thing,” Mannor told interviewers. “It was sort of shaped like a pyramid, with a blue-green light on the right-hand side and on the left, a white light. I didn’t see no antenna or porthole. The body was like a yellowish coral rock and looked like it had holes in it—sort of like if you took a piece of cardboard box and split it open. You couldn’t see it too good because it was surrounded with heat waves, like you see on the desert. The white light turned to a blood red as we got close to it and Ron said, ‘Look at that horrible thing.’”
More from Click on Detroit.
More cool clouds from Jamie right here on Flickr and definitely follow MacDonald Photo on Facebook!
Here’s a one hour UFO special with Walter Cronkite from 1966:
My position is that should take your rainbows as they come – here’s a beauty featuring the Portage Lake Lift Bridge in Houghton taken this Sunday!
Many more Michigan rainbows & more rainbow science on Michigan in Pictures!