(meteorobs) Request for comments: "Hot Falling Stars of Summer"

The following is a brief overview of Summer meteor-observing opportunities, 
designed for inclusion in club newsletters, small-circulation magazines, or 
electronic circulars. Before I submit it anywhere outside the meteor community, 
however, I wanted to receive some feedback on it.

So, all comments on the format, content and tone are welcome!

Thanks, and clear skies!
Lew Gramer


Hot Falling Stars of Summer

As most Northerners know, the night skies of Late Summer are frequently hazy,
often offering poor views through telescopes. On the other hand, with the warm
weather and visits to dark-skied vacation spots on our calendars, these hot
months can be an excellent time for meteor watching - casual or otherwise!

Many people may be unnecessarily discouraged from meteors this Summer, since
the Perseids - that ancient shower of mid-August which never fails to produce
high rates - will be sorely affected by bright moonlight. But what many fail
to realize, even as they stand at their telescopes on dark Summer nights, is
that the Perseids are not the only Summer shower which puts on a good show!

Among the several "minor" meteor showers active during Summer months, the
"Aquarid/Capricornid complex" is far the most prominent. Throughout July and
August, careful watchers under dark skies after midnight will see many meteors
falling all over the sky, the majority appearing to trace back to (or "radiate
from") the constellations of the Water Bearer and the Seagoat in the South.

In particular, the moonless mornings leading up to July 28 - when the Southern
Delta Aquarids reach their peak - will show avid watchers as many as 40 or
more meteors per hour. (This number includes meteors from other showers too,
as well as the non-shower meteors or "sporadics" visible all year round.)

For dark AM hours in August and September this year, the "Aurigid complex" and
late Perseids will provide many swift meteors. The Perseids may still be seen
throughout August, while the Aurigids peak in early September.

FOUR THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND when planning a Meteor Watch: 1) Comfort - it gets
mighty COLD lying under the night sky, even in Summer! 2) Meteors will be seen
in all directions and areas of the sky - NOT just near radiants. 3) Meteor
rates go up rapidly after midnight - usually the later the better! 4) If you
have any interest at all, try NOTING WHAT YOU SEE: not only will you be doing
a potential service to meteor science, but you may actually be the ONLY METEOR
OBSERVER IN THE WORLD gathering data on that particular night...