Saturday, August 06, 2016

Chasing Stars | A Night to Remember

A peek into the #perseids meteor shower and five bright planets - Chasing Stars | A Night to Remember - A Simpler Grace

You guys, I have been SO EXCITED for this week! In case there was any doubt, my nerd is going to shine brightly for the next seven-to-ten days. If you aren't a geek like me, this post might not interest you, but if you are, then read on about two very special events coming up.
In case we haven't met, I'll tell you now that astronomy is one topic that you should bring up around me if you want to be best friends. I am the biggest space lover around (well, maybe one person beats me and I know him) and so much so, I keep videos like this on my weekly watch list. I read horoscopes daily, not because I want to find out when the best day for love is, but because I am so intrigued by the correlation between one's personality traits and the sign they were born under. In case you're wondering, I am Sagittarius to a tee.

So you might be thinking to yourself, "What does this have to do with next week?" Well, I'll tell you. There are two major astronomical events occurring this month and they just so happen to be visible on the same weekend.

The Perseids Meteor Shower
This meteor shower is named after Perseus because it appears to be originating in the constellation but it is actually debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth passes through the debris field once a year, you guessed it, in mid-August. The Perseids peak overnight on August 11th and 12th and you can catch them in the northeastern sky by looking for Perseus. According to NASA, the shower is supposed to be extra-spectacular this year as Earth could pass through three or more streams of shower debris, displaying two-hundred meteors an hour in perfect conditions.

Five Bright Planets Visible in the Night Sky
As if the Perseids weren't enough reason to camp out in your yard to stargaze, there is also an even rarer event happening in early August. Five "bright planets" (any planet from our solar system visible without the aid of a telescope) will be aligning in the evening sky and could be visible at the same time. Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be floating around out there, waiting for you to get a peek at them. 

Another fun fact: Saturn will be completing it's retrograde (when it appears to spin backward) through Sagittarius on August 13th. Unlike the crazy retrograde planets, Mars and Mercury, Saturn in retrograde is a time to focus on discipline and patience. *I don't really follow the astrological aspect of it all, but I think it's fun that it's happening the same weekend AND that it's passing through my birth sign.*

How cool is that? What is even more awesome is knowing that God painted the sky and placed every single star in its spot, just so you and I could admire them. I will surely be out the weekend of the 12th, admiring the night sky, watching the five planets becoming visible and catching some falling stars.

If you want a cool resource for anything astronomical, you should follow Chris Stubenrauch on Twitter and Periscope. He does scopes with live telescope viewings where he talks about planets and stars and whatever it is he is looking at that night and I'm sure he will be very active next weekend!

Hope you guys enjoyed hearing about one of my life-long passions and are excited to get out and do some star-gazing next weekend. Thanks for letting me nerd out for a few minutes!

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