July 27, 2008

July 27, 2008
Welcome to Sunday. How has your day of rest been going? It's been a very restful day for me.

Here in Jacksonville, it is still gay pride celebration weekend. Last night they had a gay pride parade from Avondale to Riverside Park but unfortunately I was unable to attend. After the parade there was a dance and block party at 5pts in Riverside. Hopefully they had a great turnout. I know earlier in the day it was storming so I had been afraid all the events were going to be washed out. Luckily the rain stopped around 3pm and the parade and dance were not until 7pm.

Both Gary and I are sick this weekend with fevers and a sore throat. Luckily, I already had a doctor appointment scheduled for tomorrow so I will be speaking to the doctor and see what we have come into contact with now. Hopefully it is just a 48 hour virus and we will both be feeling better soon. Because of the way we were feeling we both slept on and off all day. Since it was storming it was very easy for me to sleep during the thunderstorm. I guess that is because I grew up on the Gulf Coast where thunderstorms are the norm during the summer.

But I did go outside last night and look at the stars. Sometimes when I am having problems with my claustrophobia. Anyone gazing at the summer night sky for even a short length of time is likely to spot a few "shooting stars" darting across the sky. Meteors are typically bits of material left behind by comets. They're often no larger than sand grains, and they vaporize as they enter our atmosphere. In general, the Earth encounters richer meteoric activity during the second half of the year. Between August 3 and 15, there are a half-dozen different minor displays that are active. The best display of the summer comes during the second week of August: the annual Perseid meteor shower. At its peak around the nights of Aug. 11 and 12, this display can produce 50 to 100 fast, bright meteors per hour. This will be a fair-to-good year to watch for the Perseids. A bright gibbous moon, which initially will interfere with observations, will set at around 1:30 a.m., leaving the rest of the night dark for prospective meteor watchers. The only equipment you'll need is your eyes and a modest amount of patience. Early morning is best. The main trick is to plan your meteor-watching for the pre-dawn hours. Not only will the moon have set, leaving skies darker, but there are simply more meteors then. This is due to the fact that during the pre-midnight hours we are on the "trailing" side of the Earth, due to our orbital motion through space. So any meteoric particle generally must have an orbital velocity greater than that of the Earth to "catch" us. However, after midnight when we are turned onto the Earth's "leading" side, any particle that lies along the Earth's orbital path will enter our atmosphere as a meteor. These objects collide with our atmosphere at speeds of 7 to 45 miles (11 to 72 km) per second, their energy of motion rapidly dissipates in the form of heat, light, and ionization, creating short-lived streaks of light popularly referred to as "shooting stars." The very first forerunners of the Perseid shower began to appear around July 17. Unfortunately, that virtually coincides with a full moon, but even without any interfering moonlight you would only see a few per hour at best. The numbers will begin to noticeably ramp up during the second week of August. The last Perseid stragglers may still be noted as late as Aug. 24. To go along with the Perseids, however, there are at least ten other minor meteor displays that are active at various times during July and August. While the hourly rates from these other meteor streams are but a fraction of the numbers produced by the Perseids, combined, overall they provide a wide variety of meteors of differing colors, speeds and trajectories. Among these are the Southern Delta Aquarids, which reach their peak around July 28 and can produce faint, medium speed meteors; the Alpha Capricornids, which arrive at their maximum a couple of nights later on July 30 and are described as slow, bright, long trailed meteors and the Kappa Cygnids, peaking near Aug. 17 and have been classified as slow moving and sometimes brilliant. So next time you are outside at night, take a moment and stare at the skies. You never know what wonders you might see.

So how about you? Have you been having a great weekend? Did you do something special just for you? Remember to take some time to smell the roses and enjoy the lifetime you have been given.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab