Friday, May 23, 2014

(Possible) "torrential meteor storm" tonight

This one snuck up on me. The Chicago Tribune reports,

Late Friday night into Saturday morning, North America will probably see a brand-new meteor shower, and there's a good chance that these gentle shooting stars will become a torrential meteor storm and provide quite a light show. The new meteors — the Camelopardalids — are dusty remnants of a comet discovered in 2004. With clear skies, sky gazers may see meteor activity beginning at 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Astronomers predict that the peak will occur between 2 and 4 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, but Cooke believes that gazers may be able to catch sight of shooting stars through the dawn before sunrise washes them out. Cooke said that thanks to Jupiter's gravitational pull, the comet's debris trail is intersecting the Earth's orbit for the first time.

New meteor showers are found fairly often, Cooke said, but with falling star rates so low "even an experienced observer would not notice them." He added, "New showers with rates of tens or hundreds per hour are very rare.

It is a new meteor shower, that's why it snuck up on me. The scientists know the date and the duration but don't know the intensity. Some say the shower could fizzle out. Others say there could be up to 200 per hour. Hence the use of 'possible' in the blog essay title.

Here is another article about it: Tonight's meteor shower cold be a really great one

What a spectacular show the Lord is putting on. The hail and lightning the last couple of days, and now this "new" and "torrential" star shower.

Though everything that happens ultimately is related to the last days, because God is working all things out to fulfill His plan, and all things will ultimately dwindle down to the one moment the church is raptured and His judgments begin, the meteor shower isn't an event we can definitively point to and say "aha, a sign." For example, there is this verse,

"There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:11)

It is a Tribulation verse. Are there great earthquakes happening at this same time? Widespread pestilences? No. The meteor shower will be fun to watch and ascribe God's power and glory to, and while it is tangentially a sign because everything is under His sun and working to the last moments of history, it isn't a definitive end times sign.

Start watching at around 10pm, astronomers say. The shower is supposed to peak between 2-4 am. Some reports say there could be up to 200 an hour- that's an amazing 3 per minute. Another scientist said that you should go to where there isn't a lot of ambient ground light, where there is an unobstructed swathe of sky to view, and bring a chair to be comfortable. I am lucky, in my rural area there are no lights (except for one across the street at the school), and though my yard is rimmed by trees, it's large so I can see a big section of the sky. Be sure to enjoy God's show tonight, and as always, keep looking up.

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
(Hebrews 1:10-12)



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