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Has anyone been paying attention to the Orionids?  How are they shaping up?  I am going out for a nice long observing session tonight, conditions are great and I am heading to a dark site.  I talked my girlfriend into coming along to watch meteors in between telescope objects.  I was just curious if there has been much of a show, numbers-wise?

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From my location, nothing noteworthy or otherwise outstanding. With one large exception.....

Our media here has been building up the Orionids for a week or so - admonishing people to "...not miss this amazing sight!" And this is not a good thing. It's been building up & up & up people's expectations for what most people would consider to be a 'dud.' From what all they've been saying, you'd have thought the skies would be ablaze in fireballs galore! People here all know me and have been asking me what they did wrong. "I watched for over an hour and I didn't see anything." - has become the mantra of most.The only good that has come of this is my teaching people about meteor-showers in general, like 'what causes these' to explaining 'stellar-magnitude.' As gently as possible.

The planet Uranus has also been shoved down peoples' throats. The media is claiming that Uranus 'will be visible with just your eyes!' All that's come from this is a string of bad jokes, reverting back to first-grade W.C. humor. No wonder most people have no interest in astronomy. Being utterly disappointed in such a manner on their first try at it by malignant dis-information in the evening news on TV.

So 'Phooey!' for this years' Orionids. I just wish the newscasters would try pulling their heads out of their 7th planet from the Sun.

Over & Out,

Dave

 

 

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I live in a nice dark sky area of rural south west of England here and I have often spent a couple of hours on a clear night in the past in the hope of seeing various meteor showers and I've seen just a couple.  "Shower" is definitely the wrong word IMO.  You'll be lucky to see any!!  Similarly with planets, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn look like bright stars but the more distant planets can never be more than a dimmish star and although technically visible to the naked eye will in practice vanish into the myriad of stars seen at a dark site on a clear sky.  You just won't "see" it and don't expect to see it as anything but a rather faint blue dot with a telescope.  All these pictures of super planets and beautiful DSO really annoy me.  Most can't even be seen with the best of terrestrial telescopes let alone amateur ones.  DSO images are usually the result of hours of image capture and dozens or hundreds of subs processed in computers.  Others are HST images or even from probes from near a planet.

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I absolutely am picking up what both of you are putting down.  At the same time, I came into astronomy from the seemingly less common approach of being absolutely amazed I could see anything but the little specks of light that are stars, so every time I make out a nebula, planet, double star, or cluster it gets me all excited that I am peering into space and actually able to make out these objects that I am reading so much about!  If more people came into the hobby with my expectations there would be a lot more newbies who were absolutely amazed with their new scopes!

Having said that, I see where so many people see the pictures from Hubble or Cassini or whatnot, and when they turn their optics towards the plants or the Pillars Of Creation and see the reality of observing from a modest Earth based telescope and are disappointed.  I would never for a minute make it harder for anybody to access the amazing images taken by the advanced space telescopes, but I did hear it said once that with each telescope should come with a primer to explain just what you are about to witness, and why this is neat in itself.  Unfortunately, it seems backyard scopes remain a tool best used by those who appreciate the universe for what it is, those who are already a little science-minded.

 

ANYWAY-- I got out for a wonderful night of viewing.  I was looking through the scope a lot, which makes it hard to find meteors, and my girlfriend was taking some nice sky shots with her camera.  All the same, between the two of us we managed to see about 20-30 meteors and had a splendid time. A lot of the meteors were small and relatively faint, but clearly visible and a joy to look for.  I chalk this one up as a successful viewing!

Edited by Hayduke27
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Hey @Dave In Vermont, why do you suppose the media builds these things up and exaggerates the events?  I was pondering this today. It doesn't seem that they have any monetary interest at stake, so why should it make any difference to them if people are drawn to the skies on any particular night?  Why not just report the facts and allow those that actually care to go and look at the events?  It seems strange that they would blow these things out of proportion just to have people shrug them off as "not as cool as the hype" time and time again.  Is this just to try and make "good news"?  Any thoughts?

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'Making 'good' news' is one possibility. Perhaps trying to show an intellectual-slant to their usual insipid broadcast? Probably many reasons - as well as playing "Follow-the-Leader" as set by the first broadcaster to have put out the story. And that their "research" that went into this broadcast? Ha! This likely went something like this: "Let's do a story with scientific tone to it!" "That sounds great! How about something from outer-space?" "Yes! Call-up an expert! Hey - call my wife's brother, Jimmy. He knows his science-stuff. Last year he bought his 8 year old son, Bobby, a chemistry-set!" <sound of touch-tone phone being pressed>

Because they obviously didn't consult with an astronomer! So it started somewhere, and a rush to join was on so as to appear cutting-edge 'sciencey.'

What the person or persons to have first aired this tripe could have had any number of motives. From reading a piece of an article they found in a dentist's office waiting-room, and on up to the winning word used in a game of Scrabble they played at the last party was 'meteorite.'

News has been used to make money off of. A major network tv-station put a story out of an impending hurricane soon to hit the east-coast of the US. People were told to be ready and go stock-up on batteries and other supplies. People rushed off and bought a weeks' worth of goods. The cash-registers' were ringing off the hook! Money was spent in vast quanities. But there was a problem: The hurricane had tracked far to the east of any landfall - heading into the Atlantic Ocean. And they knew it.

Some journalist, one with intergrity, wondered where all the money went that was gained in profits from this buying-spree went. And it was traced back to the top-exec's bank-accounts. They'd bought stock in the distributers of all the goods bought in preperation for a non-existent hurricane. These top-execs had all made a substantial profit off their investments. And then the screaming & gnashing-teeth began! This was reported to both the news-media and the US government as a criminal-act! They'd profited from purposefully putting this hoax out so as to make money. But, unfortunately, this didn't violate any existing laws.

Some laws were passed to make this sort of thing clearly illegal. Not that many people put great trust into the weather-report's on TV-News, but this was way over-the-top!

Hurtling Onwards to an Idiocracy,

Dave

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On 10/22/2017 at 10:24, Hayduke27 said:

I absolutely am picking up what both of you are putting down.  At the same time, I came into astronomy from the seemingly less common approach of being absolutely amazed I could see anything but the little specks of light that are stars, so every time I make out a nebula, planet, double star, or cluster it gets me all excited that I am peering into space and actually able to make out these objects that I am reading so much about!  If more people came into the hobby with my expectations there would be a lot more newbies who were absolutely amazed with their new scopes!

Having said that, I see where so many people see the pictures from Hubble or Cassini or whatnot, and when they turn their optics towards the plants or the Pillars Of Creation and see the reality of observing from a modest Earth based telescope and are disappointed.  I would never for a minute make it harder for anybody to access the amazing images taken by the advanced space telescopes, but I did hear it said once that with each telescope should come with a primer to explain just what you are about to witness, and why this is neat in itself.  Unfortunately, it seems backyard scopes remain a tool best used by those who appreciate the universe for what it is, those who are already a little science-minded.

 

ANYWAY-- I got out for a wonderful night of viewing.  I was looking through the scope a lot, which makes it hard to find meteors, and my girlfriend was taking some nice sky shots with her camera.  All the same, between the two of us we managed to see about 20-30 meteors and had a splendid time. A lot of the meteors were small and relatively faint, but clearly visible and a joy to look for.  I chalk this one up as a successful viewing!

Hayduke, I'm glad you had such a great night of observing. Gotta love those Colorado skies! I can only dream of seeing that many meteors in a single night from my location. I agree with Dave about the reasons the media can be so deceptive about astronomical events. It's funny and tragic at the same time. And I agree with you that if more people came in the hobby with more realistic expectations, they would stick with astronomy. Heck, when I started, just knowing that the white dot I was looking at was SOMETHING was enough to get me excited, AND IT STILL DOES, lol! Shoot, 20 meteors? Awesome! One (or none)? Still awesome! For me, it's as much about the journey as it is the destination.

Reggie

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