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Meteor shower set to light up the sky

TIME LAPSE: This Friday is the perfect time to get your camera out to capture a meteor shower.
TIME LAPSE: This Friday is the perfect time to get your camera out to capture a meteor shower. Contributed

BEWARE: trust internet meteorologists at your own risk.

After 56 years in the game, Owen Bennedick knows a thing or two about asteroid showers, enough not to trust the faceless experts of the Internet.

The Gemininds meteor shower is set to light up the night sky at approximately 2:30am tonight, but the Wappa Falls Observatory senior astronomer said don't fear if you miss the early morning screening.

"Throw it out the window - just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's going to happen," he said.

"Of course there is a peak time, but a meteor show can last longer than a week either side (of the predicted peak).

"It's a load of nonsense, you can catch it during the day if you're lucky."

These days Owen doesn't get out of bed for just any meteor show, but he has got his own tips for optimal viewing.

"I like to watch it before midnight because they're travelling a lot slower and burn for a lot longer," he said.

"After midnight is when they start burning really fast and you get to see them whizz by.

"I suggest you just go grab a blanket, have a drink and nibbles and just wait for the first one to appear.

"That's your radiant point and everything after that will come from the same point."

Owen has shipped in two new telescopes from the USA just in time for the shower, including a 40cm mobile scope.

The other is a highly specialised and expensive solar hydrogen alpha telescope for looking at the sun to add to observatory's 25.

"It's 2500 times as powerful as the human eye," Owen said.

"We have more telescopes than anywhere in Australia, and probably most shops.

"When I run a show, I don't like big long lines, I like to have a dozen or so telescopes and four to five operators so you can just walk around and see different parts of the sky."

Topics:  editors picks wappa falls observatory


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