Monday, August 12, 2013

Perseids Helping Astronomers

Hey Space Placers!

I hope you got to see the Perseids either by eye or by radar - or both! Tonight into dawn is still a good night to see the shower. By all accounts this was a good year for the Perseids and the numbers will be tallied in the coming days.

Astronomers are using the Perseid meteors to track the flow in the upper atmosphere of the debris they leave behind and analyzing the make up of the particles. This work is being done using radar and lasers and can help answer some fundamental questions as to how this debris mingles and flows in our atmosphere as well as determining the composition of this material.

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Astronomers are also using the Perseids as well as other meteor shower debris remnants to help focus  the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii. Using the meteor debris in the upper atmosphere to"focus"five laser beams allows special equipment - adaptive optics - to enable the telescope to perform far better.

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Sky Guy in VA

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