Aug

15

 The Perseid Meteor Shower occurred this past Saturday. The Earth passed through the tail of a comet. The meteors were slated to shoot from the constellation Perseus which appeared on the low northeast horizon in the evening. Lying in my cot wrapped in a -30 down sleeping bag in subfreezing temperatures at the 12000 foot level of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the iPad Stargazer app pointed the constellations. It's always fun to learn new constellations. Cygnus is above Cassiopaea in the Milky Way which in turn is above Perseus and rise in order as the evening passes. We saw a fair number of meteors, but honestly it was so cold, I couldn't even stick my face out far enough to see much of the sky.

The constellations are patterns the mind makes out of random patterns of stars in the sky, yet for centuries they have been used to help navigate and orient lost travelers, tell time, seasons. It's an effective method.

Since charts of random sequences display patterns, I wonder if charts of markets, some of which are not random, properly analyzed and quantified, could be used for navigation and orientation purposes in the market. For so many the visual chart is more meaningful, more easy to understand and digest than tables, number series or verbal input.

Kim Zussman comments: 

Allow me to share some of my thoughts on star gazing.

A telescope is not useful for observing a meteor shower. You need dark skies (mountains or deserts away from city lights), a lawn chair or sleeping bag, a meteor shower, and your eyes.

The radiant constellation (Perseus, Leo, etc) isn't important as it is just the general center from which meteor streaks radiate.

Meteor "showers" are often disappointing as the frequency at peak is usually less than one per minute.

If you go to the trouble of traveling to a dark site on a clear night, in between meteors it is great fun to explore the milky way (our galaxy) with binoculars. 7 X 50 is good for this (7 power / 50mm aperture) because it has enough light gathering power to resolve thousands of individual stars with low enough magnification for hand-held mounting (larger binoculars need tripods).

The fun part is realizing how old the light from these stars is, and the likelihood of planets with life out there.
 


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1 Comment so far

  1. Yucheng Pan on August 15, 2012 11:26 pm

    Where was your camping site on Mauna Kea? Where did you park?

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