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Best place to Skywatch?

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symbolite

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Well i live out on Long Island in New York and i can never seem to have a good view of the stars. Usually from my backyard im able to see Venus, Jupiter, Saturn if i squint hard enough and a couple of the brighter stars in the sky and thats about it. Occasionally ill notice in slightly darker area's ill see some stars i havn't seen in the brighter area's around my town. Well whats bringing me to type this is that i found out in August the Perseids Meteor shower will be a nice sight for all stargazers. My question is where's a good place to view the shower from? Is the Beach a good place? The nearest light source would probably be almost a football feild away. Thats the only place i can currently think of to go to see this event. Anyone have any suggestions or comments? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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deapfreeze

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As long as the light source doesn't throw to much light your way the beach should be good. I will do my watching from my backyard I am lucky I can see quite a bit of stars here. If my car was working I would go to the beach in my area because it is extremely dark and I can see alot of stars there. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><em>William ( deapfreeze ) Hooper</em></font></p><p><font size="1">http://deapfreeze-amateur-astronomy.tk/</font></p><p> </p> </div>
 
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jimcolyer

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I grew up 15 miles east of Louisville. In the early 1960s, there were few lights and skies were dark. If I were growing up there today, I would never know astronomy. I made my way to Hawaii in 2003 and stood atop Mauna Kea at sunset. That was great!<br /><br />Astronomy http://jimcolyer.com/papers/entry?id=2
 
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heyscottie

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Anywhere you can go to get away from lights in your immediate area is great, but I'm afraid that in this, as in everything else, you kind of get what you pay for. To get the best sights, of course, you'd need to leave the Metro area. From your post, it seems like you are in a heavily lighted area. How far east are you on Long Island? Besides lights shining in your eyes, you have to deal with lights that shine in the sky and reflect back from dust in the air, making the sky itself much brighter. This will swamp out the dimmer meteors.<br /><br />There are a bunch of state parks out there on Long Island -- any chance in getting to one of them?
 
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symbolite

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Im near the south shore of long island in Nassau county, to far west im afraid.<br /><br />What magnitude of brighness do the meteor's usually shine at? This is my first attempt ever at trying to watch a shower. So maybe if i know what magnitude's to expect i can then figure out right now if i have any chance in seeing them or not. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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heyscottie

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Oh, you certainly should be able to see some. Most Perseids are around magnitude 2-3. Of course, the darker your skies, the more you'll be able to see.<br /><br />Find a study on magnitudes of the 2005 Perseids here:<br />http://britastro.org/baa/content/view/94/118/<br /><br />It shows the distribution of Perseids of different magnitudes, as below:<br /><br />
 
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MeteorWayne

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The Perseids have more bright meteors, and more meteors than most showers, so you should have no trouble seeing some.<br /><br />What heyscottie said is technically not correct as far as actual quantities of meteors, itmight be right as far as what you can see. It's where the abundence of the dimmer meteors is counteracted by the lower probability of seeing them.<br /><br />For meteor showers, a quantity that is measured is called "r"; it is the ratio of meteors you can see from one magnitude range to the next.<br /><br />For the Perseids peak, the r is about 2.1 or 2.2.<br /><br />That means if there is one -2 magnitude meteor (like Sirius), there would be 2 -1 magnitude meteors, 4 0 magnitude meteors (like Vega or Arcturus), 9 1st magnitude meteors, 19 2nd magnitude meteors (like Polaris),41 3rd magnitude meteors, 86 4th magnitude meteors, and 180 5th magnitude meteors.<br /><br />The question then becomes what can you see. The probability of seeing a meteor is related to how bright it is compared to the brightness of the sky.<br />In NYC or the bright parts of Nassau county where the sky is about mag +3, you can only possibly see 76 of the 340 listed above (that's about 4 hour's worth), and would likely miss many of the +2's and + 3's. So maybe 25 or 30 might be spotted. The +4's and +5's are dimmer than the background sky, so there's no chance of spotting them.<br /><br />Here in NW NJ with a sky around magnitude +5 or so, they would all be possible, but the actual count of those 340 would be half or less.<br /><br />So if you are in the bright part of Nassau, and the ZHR is 100 (a bit on the high end for the last few years of Perseids) you might catch 20 an hour.<br /><br />Here at the NJAA (near Clinton NJ) if it's clear I expect about 40-50 per hour. You are more than welcome to join us here (I'll be giving a talk on the Perseids Sunday night around 9PM, then out for observing), but if you headed east, there are likely dark sky sites as good or better that are closer. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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symbolite

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Thanks for the Input so far <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br /><br />In my backyard im pretty sure i can see Magnitude 2 stars, and sometimes depending on the night i might be able to see Mag 3's. So it sounds like just from my backyard i might see some stuff but im definatly going to try to find someplace a little darker Aug 12th. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Looking at the map, it appears Jones Beach State Park might be a pretty good spot?<br />Try calling the park and making sure it's OK to spend the night. The Peak is between 1 and 3:30 AM so I'm sure it's not normal hours. If you look to the ESE or SE, Perseus will be rising to your left, and you can be sure there's no light pollution in the direction you are looking.<br />Heck, depending on the weather, I might join you there if it's cloudy more inland!! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />With the New moon this year, it's a year where I will drive to clear skies wherever they are.<br /><br />MW<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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symbolite

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That seems like a very nice place to go. I looked at it on Google Earth and indeed it doesn't look like there is much there besides the roads.<br /><br />I also like that i can just point myself toward the ocean and have a great view. Also new moon is a huge bonus! Now i just need to hope for good weather. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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symbolite

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So i took a drive down there tonight because it was a pretty clear night and wanted to scout it out.<br /><br />It is indeed very dark there, alot of the highway roads have no lights. Unfortunatly it looks like after sunset all parking lots are closed off and you can no longer park there. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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symbolite

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EDIT: Opps double post. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Like I said, give them a call. I have found many parks to be accomodating for events like the Perseids if you ask.<br />I've had several state parks in NJ ask me to give a talk, and then spend the night of observing in the past.<br />None so far this year, which is fine, I actually prefer to observe alone....less distractions for data recording.<br />It's possible one of the local astronomy clubs might have already made approved plans to be there, since it's such a good location.<br />You'll never know unless you ask <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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heyscottie

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Symbolite: Good luck! Heck, even if you just lurk outside the gates at the park, you're likely to have darker skies than an urban or suburban backyard...<br /><br />Wayne: Thanks for the tweak about meteor visibility. I had merely meant to show that there were plenty that would be visible under even poor skies, but what I posted could have been easily misinterpreted. I didn't know there was a formal value like "r" calculated for various meteor showers, either. Is there a table somewhere that shows data like that for most of the annual showers?
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yes there is.<br /><br />Here's the IMO working list of meteor showers with "r" and ZHR<br /><br />Full chart is available at the end of the 2007 shower calendar here <br /><br /><br />Shower........................ r ...ZHR <br />----------------------------------------------<br />Antihelion Source (ANT) ... 3.0... 3 <br />----------------------------------------------<br />Quadrantids (QUA)...... 2.1... 120 <br />α-Centaurids (ACE)..... 2.0... 5 <br />δ-Leonids (DLE)..... 3.0... 2 <br />γ-Normids (GNO) ....... 2.4... 4 <br />Lyrids (LYR) .......... 2.1... 18 <br />Ï€-Puppids (PPU) ..... 2.0 ... var <br />η-Aquarids (ETA) ..... 2.4 ... 60 <br />η-Lyrids (ELY) ........ 3.0 ... 3 <br />June Bootids (JBO) .... 2.2 ... var <br />----------------------------------------------------<br />Piscis Austrinids (PAU) ... 3.2... 5 <br />South.δ-Aquarids (SDA) ... 3.2 ... 20 <br />α-Capricornids (CAP) ..... 2.5 ... 4 <br />Perseids (PER) ......... 2.6 ... 100 <br />κ-Cygnids (KCG) ..... 3.0... 3 <br />-----------------------------------------------------<br />α-Aurigids (AUR) ...... 2.6 ...7 <br />September Perseids (SPE) ..... 2.9 ... 5 <br />δ-Aurigids (DAU) ...... 2.9 ... 2 <br />Draconids (GIA) ...... 2.6... var <br />ε-Geminids (EGE) ....... 3.0 ...2 <br />Orionids (ORI) ......... 2.5 ... 23 <br />Leo Minorids (LMI) ...... 3.0 ...2 <br />Southern Taurids (STA) ... 2.3 ... 5 <br />Northern Taurids (NTA) ... 2.3 ...5 <br />Leonids (LEO) ............ 2.5 ... 15+ <br />α-Monocerotids (AMO) ... 2.4 ... var <br />Dec Phoenicids (PHO) ... 2.8 ... var <br />Puppid/Velids (PUP) ... 2.9 ... 10 <br />Monocerotids (MON) ... 3.0 ... 2 <br />σ-Hydrids (HYD) ...... 3.0 ... 3 <br />Geminids (GEM) ..... 2.6 ... 120 <br />Coma Berenicids (COM) ... 3.0 ...5 <br />Ursids (URS) ......... 3.0 ... 10 <br /><br />The showers between the dashed lines are the ones that are currently act <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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That's what I'm here for <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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datalor

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Holy crap , that sure beats to hell my descriptions of meteors, which is to point at the sky saying "Oooo, look, a shooting star, preeety!" LOL <img src="/images/icons/laugh.gif" /><br />Seriously though, good info. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Looks good, and they have a permit process set up.<br /><br />I might apply for a permit myself as a weather backup site in case bad weather is approaching from the west. Thanx. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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On the morning of 8/5 I counted 7 Perseids in 2.92 Hours (2.4 per Hour)<br /><br />Magnitudes<br />+1...1<br />+2...2.5<br />+3...1.5<br />+4...2<br />Average +2.6<br /><br />Other Showers, Number, magnitude<br />KCG..3...Avg +3.5<br />SDA...2...Avg +3.5<br />CAP...1...Avg +0.0<br />Sporadics...2...Avg +3.3 <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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