Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Leonid Meteor Showers at Peak

We are lucky to live where we do, for a number of reasons, but one big one is for the awe inspiring views of the night sky and the meteor showers we are blessed with from time to time. Being on the top of a mountain, mostly away from city lights, gives us the perfect perch from which to study the stars.

There isn't a night that goes by that we don't see a shooting star or two (and several satellites) if we happen to be outside but a few times a year we are treated to some spectacular displays. One of those displays is happening right now. The Leonids. The Leonid meteor showers get their name because they appear to come from the constellation Leo and they streak across the sky every year around this time. "The shower is caused by material left behind the comet Tempel-Tuttle when it passes near Earth's orbit during its regular trip through the solar system."

In years past we have seen some amazing fireballs race across the sky, leaving long,  shimmering tails in their wake. They are a sight to see.

"The annual Leonids should be at their best through Nov. 18, according to skywatching experts. Avid meteor gazers graced with clear skies may see between 15 and 20 meteors per hour.

"Skywatchers should look toward the constellation Leo in the eastern sky to see "shooting stars" from the Leonids, which appear to radiate out of the constellation. The best time to try to see the Leonids are in the last two or three hours before sunrise, when the moon has set."

One of these days I'll get the gear I need to do my own astrophotography but for now I'll have to settle for the above photos from Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nuts? I Don't Think So.

Who Needs Nuts When You Can Eat Mushrooms?

As I was fetching more wood from our wood pile I came across several rather large stashes of dried mushrooms, carefully gathered from the forest and hidden there by one of our resident squirrels. I hated to disturb his winter food stores so I tried to carefully put them back where I found them, all the while being loudly scolded by said squirrel as he watched me from a nearby tree. I know we will continue to disturb his precious mushrooms as we deplete the wood pile over the winter but I hope he will be able to find them again when the snow gets deep and food is scarce.


I told this story a couple of weeks ago on "Do You See What I See,"  my friend Dianne's photo blog, when she posted this photo. Her photo reminded me of the above photo I took several years ago in a Denver park.


To see more nature photos click on the link below.

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