Showers, showers, everywhere.

2011-08-03 23:37:17.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Observer / Meteorologist

Sunset today – Pretty but unrelated to the comment

If you listened to a Top 40 radio station within the last year, odds are you heard a song called “Airplanes” by B.o.B feat Hayley Williams. In it, the chorus of the song (sung by Ms. Williams) goes:

“Can we pretend airplanes
In the night sky are like shooting stars?
I could really use a wish right now
Wish right now, wish right now…”

During most of the year, the skies above the summit are obscured by fog, clouds, haze, etc. making it difficult to see the stars, let alone shooting stars or airplanes that may be streaking across the sky. But the few times of the year when the skies are crisp, clear and visible, the night sky pops and glows with an abundance of stars. On those given nights, I may witness one or two shooting stars leaving me to reserve my wishes for those few occasions or forcing me to resort to imagining the passing planes and satellites as shooting stars. But a few times a year, the quantity of shooting stars picks up and I find myself running out of wishes within a matter of minutes. That is the predicament I find myself in tonight.

The skies are clear, the relative humidity is low, the haze is non-existent, and for the last few hours, there has been a halo of clearing above the summits, allowing me to take in a large swath of stars and shooting stars. The reason for the increased meteor activity is all due to the approach of the Perseids meteor shower. Now while we are still a week away from the peak of the shower on August 13, already, there is plenty of activity in the night skies. At my last weather observation, I witnessed 15 shooting stars in about a five minute span. And while not as thrilling as Mike’s and the other shifts thunderstorm shower earlier this week, it’s still a pretty impressive sight that increases the magnitude of the night sky I’ve been witnessing over the past five plus years here. So, if you find yourself under clear skies in the coming week or so, I highly recommend getting to a clearing (a field, park, etc preferably away from the city lights), layout a blanket, and enjoy a nightly show in the skies above you. And while you’re watching the skies, make sure you have a few wishes to throw out there when you see the shooting stars so you don’t have to resort to using the passing airplanes.


Ryan Knapp,  Observer / Meteorologist

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