National Perseid Meteor Watch This Weekend

first_imgUnstoppable Sean shows that all things are possible Advertisement ASTRONOMY Ireland is asking members of the public all across the 32 counties to watch the best meteor shower of the year “The Perseids” and count how many they see every 15 minutes. This is fun and has great scientific value.“Last year I was seeing 15 to 20 meteors every 15 minutes for several hours which is about 20 times what one would normally expect to see,” said David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine. “Many of them were extremely bright, which is what this shower is noted for,” he said.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The counts by members of the public are extremely useful to scientists as it allows the strength of the shower to be monitored from year to year. “This is how we know the Perseids always put on the best show of the year in August for many years. So there is great scientific value in simple counts done with nothing more than a clock and normal eyesight. No binoculars or telescopes should be used.” said Mr Moore.In 2018, the Perseids peak on Sunday night August 12th, but rates should be at least half as good on the night before and after Sunday night. “This is very useful, given the Irish weather, when the best night can often be clouded out, but the nights before and after Sunday night i.e. Saturday and Monday nights should still give 10 times more meteors than on a normal night,” said Mr Moore.“All people have to do is count how many ‘shooting stars’ (meteors is the correct term) they see every 15 minutes and send them to Astronomy Ireland’s website www.astronomy.ie that night or the next day. The results of the nationwide survey will be published in Astronomy Ireland magazine which is archived in the National Library of Ireland for all time.” said Mr Moore.Perseid meteors can appear anywhere in the sky but their paths all point back to the constellation of Perseus in the northeast, but you can view any part of the sky, not just the northeast. A sun lounger is great for watching in comfort and avoiding neck pain.If a family group are viewing (a great idea) each person should keep their own count and not include meteors seen by others if they did not see them for themselves.Conditions are ideal this year with no Moon to brighten the sky and drown out the fainter Perseids. Those in rural locations with dark skies will get the best views but even city dwellers will see plenty. You can view all night long or just for one 15 minute interval if you wish. Skies will be dark enough from 10pm to 4am and the later you view usually the more you will see.Perseids are caused by sand grain sized particles that fell off a comet called Swift-Tuttle centuries or millennia ago. Every August the Earth ploughs through the orbit of this comet sweeping up this dust at a closing speed of over 100,000 miles per hour and the tiny particles vaporise instantly from friction with the upper atmosphere. There is no danger in watching them as they burn out 50 to 100 miles above the ground, 10 times higher than a jet aircraft.“This is a ‘celestial fireworks’ display provide free of charge by mother nature. We urge everyone on this island to spend at least an hour or two on Saturday, Sunday and/or Monday nights witnessing this natural spectacle.” said Mr Moore.Full details are online at www.astronomy.ie where you can also submit your counts to be a part of National Perseid Watch 2018. Facebook Limerick on Covid watch list Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year TAGSAstronomyLimerick City and CountyMeteor Shower center_img Email Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites TechPost | Episode 9 | Pay with Google, WAZE – the new Google Maps? and Speak don’t Type! Is Aer Lingus taking flight from Shannon? Previous articleTraffic chaos predicted for MungretNext articleUpdate: Visitor Restrictions at UHL Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Print NewsCommunityNational Perseid Meteor Watch This WeekendBy Staff Reporter – August 10, 2018 2164 WhatsApplast_img read more

Targeting leftover land mines

first_imgLand mines remain among the most destructive remnants of 20th century warfare, continuing to slow resettlement and hinder recovery in many former war zones.While mine-clearing protocols have improved substantially since World War II, the technology used to locate buried landmines has changed little: De-miners use metal detectors to find and identify mines. On a battlefield strewn with metal debris, differentiating lethal mines from benign cans, wires, and casings is enormously time consuming.Now, computer scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have designed an elegant system that ties in smartphones to assist humanitarian de-miners by augmenting the information supplied by their metal detectors. Their system, known as pattern enhancement tool for assisting land mine sensing (PETALS), and which will be presented at this week’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, takes de-mining advances in a new direction.“We want to support people in the field with minimal invasiveness. Without changing their sweeping style, without giving them new procedures, this technology allows them to better visualize what they are detecting,” explained SEAS researcher Lahiru Jayatilaka, who is working with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Krzysztof Gajos at SEAS, James Staszewski of Carnegie Mellon University, and Luca Bertuccelli of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.In the field, de-miners use a repetitive sweeping motion to systematically cover small sections of ground looking for land mines. When the metal detector passes over a metallic object, it beeps.  Expert de-miners are able to visualize the auditory feedback of the metal detector, creating in their heads an image of the object’s outline underground.Land mines, with their circular construction and trigger pin, have an ovoid signature. The system designed by Jayatilaka and Gajos shows one red dot for every beep of the metal detector. With passes over a buried object, the picture shows an increasingly complete outline of the object’s shape, giving the de-miner an evermore detailed picture of what may be buried there.“Using only audio signals is a huge source of inefficiency. The operator has to figure out whether it is harmful or not harmful. If they are not completely sure, they have to go down on their hands and knees and excavate every piece of metal as if it were a land mine,” explained Jayatilaka.Most humanitarian de-mining programs operate in developing countries where resources are highly constrained. Among the challenges Jayatilaka and Gajos faced was designing an affordable system requiring minimal field maintenance. Their solution involved a cheap and ubiquitous platform: the smartphone. The final version of PETALS is designed to run on a normal mobile device such as an iPhone, which can be mounted on a metal detector.In addition to increasing search efficiency, PETALS has the potential to help train new de-miners. In initial tests, novice de-miners performed 80 percent better with visual aid. Furthermore, Jayatilaka pointed out, training with a visual aid can help novices understand the principles of recognizing land mine signatures more quickly, allowing them to gain more from training.“Improving the de-miner rather than the equipment is a novel way to think about land mine removal technology,” said Jayatilaka. “It is a new direction for the field.”last_img read more