The Perseids are one of the most prolific meteor showers of the year. Born from the orbital debris of comet Swift–Tuttle, the Perseids produce spectacular fireballs and intense peaks. The meteor shower is active every year between mid-July and the end of August.
The annual shower is active between the nights of July 17 and August 24.
This year, astronomers expect the Perseids to explode in intensity on the night of August 12 and August 13.
Here in the UK, the Perseids will be best seen when the skies are darkest.
According to the Royal Observatory, this will be between midnight and 5.30am BST.
The Observatory said: “The radiant of the Perseids is actually alway above the horizon as seen from the UK, which means that observers in the UK should be able to see some meteors as soon as the Sun sets. Therefore it is worth looking up in the early evening.”
When viewed from Earth, the meteors will appear to break out into our skies from a single point or radiant in the constellation Perseus.
In reality, however, the meteors will come flying from a different part of space altogether.
In order to watch the Perseids on the night of the peak, look out for a dark and open space with an unobstructed view of the horizon.
Meteor showers are best observed if you can see the entire night sky at once.
The Royal Observatory said: “Meteors can appear in any part of the sky so the more sky you can see the better.
“Find an area with a clear view of the horizon and away from trees and buildings.
“Binoculars and telescopes are not necessary as they will restrict the size of the sky that will be visible to you.”
If you decide to watch the Perseids in the open next week, remember to dress appropriately for the weather and allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.
Today the Scientific community and indeed the whole world (especially that of social media) is bubbling up with excitement of the release of photos – first images of a black hole. I’ve tracked the various links to the original scientific letter published at IOPScience site. Without breaching their brilliant presentation (the Physicist in me struggles to decipher it all), here are some key sections.. like the actual images, Abstract and Conclusion.
The following Images, Abstract & Conclusion are taken from the article titled:
First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. I. The Shadow of the Supermassive Black Hole .
When surrounded by a transparent emission region, black holes are expected to reveal a dark shadow caused by gravitational light bending and photon capture at the event horizon. To image and study this phenomenon, we have assembled the Event Horizon Telescope, a global very long baseline interferometry array observing at a wavelength of 1.3 mm. This allows us to reconstruct event-horizon-scale images of the supermassive black hole candidate in the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87. We have resolved the central compact radio source as an asymmetric bright emission ring with a diameter of 42 ± 3 μas, which is circular and encompasses a central depression in brightness with a flux ratio gsim10:1. The emission ring is recovered using different calibration and imaging schemes, with its diameter and width remaining stable over four different observations carried out in different days. Overall, the observed image is consistent with expectations for the shadow of a Kerr black hole as predicted by general relativity. The asymmetry in brightness in the ring can be explained in terms of relativistic beaming of the emission from a plasma rotating close to the speed of light around a black hole. We compare our images to an extensive library of ray-traced general-relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of black holes and derive a central mass of M = (6.5 ± 0.7) × 109 M⊙. Our radio-wave observations thus provide powerful evidence for the presence of supermassive black holes in centers of galaxies and as the central engines of active galactic nuclei. They also present a new tool to explore gravity in its most extreme limit and on a mass scale that was so far not accessible.
Conclusion and Outlook (first 2 paragraphs).
We have assembled the EHT, a global VLBI array operating at a wavelength of 1.3 mm and imaged horizon-scale structures around the supermassive black hole candidate in M87. Using multiple independent calibration, imaging, and analysis methods, we find the image to be dominated by a ring structure of 42 ± 3 μas diameter that is brighter in the south. This structure has a central brightness depression with a contrast of >10:1, which we identify with the black hole shadow. Comparing the data with an extensive library of synthetic images obtained from GRMHD simulations covering different physical scenarios and plasma conditions reveals that the basic features of our image are relatively independent of the detailed astrophysical model. This allows us to derive an estimate for the black hole mass of M = (6.5 ± 0.7) × 109 M⊙. Based on our modeling and information on the inclination angle, we derive the sense of rotation of the black hole to be in the clockwise direction, i.e., the spin of the black hole points away from us. The brightness excess in the south part of the emission ring is explained as relativistic beaming of material rotating in the clockwise direction as seen by the observer, i.e., the bottom part of the emission region is moving toward the observer.
Future observations and further analysis will test the stability, shape, and depth of the shadow more accurately. One of its key features is that it should remain largely constant with time as the mass of M87* is not expected to change measurably on human timescales. Polarimetric analysis of the images, which we will report in the future, will provide information on the accretion rate via Faraday rotation (Bower et al. 2003; Marrone et al. 2007; Kuo et al. 2014; Mościbrodzka et al. 2017) and on the magnetic flux. Higher-resolution images can be achieved by going to a shorter wavelength, i.e., 0.8 mm (345 GHz), by adding more telescopes and, in a more distant future, with space-based interferometry (Kardashev et al. 2014; Fish et al. 2019; Palumbo et al. 2019; F. Roelofs et al. 2019b, in preparation).
Here’s a quick infographics on the major Lunar Phenomena coming up in 2019. It includes *Astrological Blue moon (2 consecutive full moons in same sign), Traditional *Indigo moon (2 new moons in same month), and of course the eclipses. I’ll say more on these later. Book mark and come back to this blog again.
Few days ago I heard the sad news .. that Professor Hawking had passed away at the age of 76. What a great man .. yes for all the scientific theories & theoretical physics discoveries and contributions he had made, but also because he lived on for decades.. despite being told he was going not going to make it.. and living with a degenerating motor neurone disease..and creating a hugely successful presence.. in the science world, and in television too.
Professor Stephen Hawking – Theoretical physicist
Born: 8 January 1942, Oxford
Died: 14 March 2018, Cambridge.
Crossing the road in Cambridge
I met him briefly in cambridge ..while crossing the road .. way back in early 90’s . I was a Physics undergraduate at the time (studying in London King’s College) but on a social a day trip to cambridge University with my friends at the King’s Malaysian & Singaporean Society. I must have got off the hired coach and following my friends into one of the college buildings.. when i saw The iconic figure in the Wheelchair further down the street. So I ran to catch up ..and stood panting.. and overwhelmed ..not knowing what to do or say. I think I eventually managed a `Hello ..it’s very nice to meet you’.. Then I stood.. wondering what to do.. and was about to turn and walk ..when his assistant/ nurse/colleague stopped me. she said he was going to say something. And he did.. And as much as I like to make a great mystery of it.. i can’t recall what it was. It was a simple social nicety. But it made my century. A Physics undergrad meeting a Physics Genius-Celeb!
Hawking Radiation story
Crazily enough.. in my A?Level school days, when i applied to Oxford for doing a Physics degree, I had no knowledge of who Stephen Hawking was….but anyone about to apply to Oxford University to do Physics degree should have known!! All my life my parents were nudging me to be an an Engineer..and after accidentally reading about the contents of Physics degree in a Uni handbook..I changed my mind overnight and put it on my application form.. which rather threw all my family and teachers at school .. To my family I gave some crazy answer about how doing Physics degree is going to be better career move than Engineering.. though at that time..i so desperately wanted to learn about particles and space-time.. that I had no plan about a career at all…
So as I was getting Mr Lewis Had of 6th Form in our school (Graveney school in Tooting) to sign my application, he asked me `so you know about Hawking radiation then?’
I had no clue of neither Professor Hawking or Hawking Radiation. That was the first I heard of both..as I took my first steps towards a Physics degree.
In those days I was a shy introvert with about 2 friends.. (hard to believe how I turned out now.. ). The Library was my refuge.. both at school..and all the local ones.. Tooting, Colliers woods, Mitcham.. even Sutton & Croydon. So I went and eventually found out about Hawking Radiation ofcourse – theoretical process by which ..due to quantum effects, a matter and anti-matter particle pair are formed out of `borrowed energy’ ..and where one falls into the black hole..and other escapes…thereby taking half the borrowed energy into the Universe… Only at the edge of a black hole can this happen.. where `borrowed energy’ is not fully returned to the vacuum of space.
Years later this idea would surface again ..but in my esoteric explorations.. and I learnt using the principles of science, I can cheat the universe and borrow some energy.. (That’s for a book am still writing in the future – sequel to my `Eclipse Magic workbook’ which actually has quite a bit of science in it…for magical use!!)
Big Bang Theory
In recent times (!), we’ve come to see Stephen Hawking many times.. on many popular TV shows, where Hawking has played himself 🙂 Star Trek: Next Generation, Simpsons, Futurama, Big Bang Theory.. but a few to name (link below). Being a Science nerd/ sci-fi geek, i have enjoyed all those shows and doubly so for seeing my Physics-hero in them. (well my 2nd Science Hero..after the late Issac Asimov!)
So.. RIP Stephen Hawking. Thank you for the inspirations. May you forever sit on the edge of a supermassive Black Hole and be radiating your essence in the imaginary and the real worlds.
Hawking has appeared in many sci-fi shows.. playing himself 🙂
Hi all.. a friend (Jemima Marriott) mentioned seeing a bright shooting star 2 nights ago..and it made me realise that I’d not made any notes about meteors..not only for this coming year but all last year (2016). So a quick search on some reliable astronomy site has produced the following data.
Major Meteor Showers in 2017
Shower / Radiant & direction / Morning of maximum/ Best hourly rate / Parent
Here are the full astrological charts & planetary positions for the upcoming 2 Eclipses (13th Sept & 28th sept). Also below are scientific diagrams / data created by Fred Espanak of NASA.
Bright Stellar Wishes
ps. If you are interested in doing magical work (Eclipse Magic) leading up to or on one of these Eclipses, you can purchase my Book `Eclipse Magic Workbook’ (published in 2012). Usual price £12. Special offer £3.99 till 13th sept’15. Visit http://www.EclipseMagic.co.uk
Some photos of the waxing Moon (taken last night on 28th June’15) and Jupiter almost conjunct Venus (taken this evening 29th June’15). I will try to take photos of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction over the next few days (wish us astro-photographers clear skies). 🙂 -Mani Navasothy