Perseids this weekend

This weekend those of you who, unlike BGG, do not have practically a nursing-home bedtime can get out in the wee hours and enjoy the Perseid meteor shower. The sand-grain to marble-sized bits of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle will be streaking through the upper edges of the atmosphere at a speed of about 133,000 mph, and a frequency of about 60-80 visible per hour.

The Perseids will be followed on September 1 by the Aurigids, a rare shower that unfortunately most of us will miss because of its short duration and the fact that the moon will be lighting up the sky.

More at and New Scientist.

Drunken Russian space pig

We send our astronauts into space hammered, but the Russians just got their test animals drunk before they shot them into space.  There’s a weird pic of a poor little piggy being fed a bottle of booze over at BoingBoing.  Yes, I’m too lazy to provide it to you here.

Gee, back in the stone age when I was a little tyke I never thought of doing something to calm the critters down when I was shooting frogs and mice up in those Estes rockets…I don’t think it would have helped much.

Apophis threatens Earth somewhat less

No, SG-1 fans, it’s not that fellow. It’s a 20-million ton BFA (big frakkin’ asteroid – ok, as asteroids go it’s not huge but compared to me it is!) possibly headed for the Pacific Ocean. A new estimate gives it about a 1 in 45,000 chance of busting into the neighborhood on April 13, 2036 (I’ve seen 1 in 35,000 as well but close enough). That’s down from earlier estimates- originally 1 in 5500 revised last year to 1 in 24,000.

Should we breathe a sigh of relief over these odds? Not yet, say experts who want the UN to decide on a contingency plan to deflect the rock. That’s great. With the UN on the job, I’m sure we could all relax. Right after we build our own underground hardened shelters.

BTW, see the comments after this story on Apophis for some chuckles.


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