A couple of weeks back on the 12th of August the Perseid meteor shower reached its’ peak and as usual a group from Lapis gathered to try and spot some meteors. We had a good if somewhat chilly night and spotted quite a few meteors streaking across the sky.
For those that aren’t sure, a meteor is a small piece of interplanetary debris burning up as it passes through our atmosphere. The Peresids – named from the point in the sky where they appear to come, are dust from the comet Swift Tuttle. As the earth speeds through the comet’s tail tiny particles hit the atmosphere and it is these we see as bright streaks across the sky.
Why is this relevant to Ufology? For lots of reasons. It would be fair to say that in general astronomers have a poor view of those of us interested in UFOs. It would also be fair to say that they are often justified in these views. Many people are totally ignorant about the night sky and of basic astronomical facts. They are convinced that what they are seeing or what has been reported to them is unexplained when a little research could remove any mystery. The so called “experts” who perpetuate these ideas convince witnesses they really have seen something unexplained.
The claim that “you cannot see satellites with the naked eye” is not uncommon. The truth of course is that not only can you see satellites but with a little research can find out exactly when and where there will be one to see. http://www.heavens-above.com
Some basic astronomical knowledge can rule out the totally wonderful and mind blowing but explainable and mean that if you are lucky enough to see something unknown, you will know it is worthy of further investigation.
Lapis have good links with our local astronomy group, Blackpool and District Astronomical Society and have had some fascinating talks from them in the past. http://www.blackpoolastronomy.org.uk
Apart from stars and satellites there are quite a few other things in the sky, both by day and night that can look very odd indeed so it’s worth checking those out too.