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Latest Bill Cooke Stories

Image 1 - Weekend Meteor Shower
2011-10-21 04:19:58

Earth is about to pass through a stream of debris from Halley's comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower.  Forecasters expect more than 15 meteors per hour to fly across the sky on Saturday morning, Oct. 22nd, when the shower peaks. "Although this isn't the biggest meteor shower of the year, it's definitely worth waking up for," says Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office. "The setting is dynamite." Orionids are framed by some of the brightest and most...

Image 1 - Get Ready For A Draconid Meteor Outburst
2011-10-05 03:59:20

On October 8th Earth is going to plow through a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and the result could be an outburst of Draconid meteors. "We're predicting as many as 750 meteors per hour," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "The timing of the shower favors observers in the Middle East, north Africa and parts of Europe." Every 6.6 years Comet Giacobini-Zinner swings through the inner solar system. With each visit, it lays down a narrow filament of...

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2011-04-28 13:45:00

Dauna Coulter, Science@NASA Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won't be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and, of course, about the eta Aquarid meteor shower. The eta Aquarids are best viewed from the southern hemisphere, but there's something special about them no matter where you live: "Each eta Aquarid meteoroid is a piece of Halley's Comet doing a kamikaze death...

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2010-12-12 16:00:00

The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks this year on Dec. 13th and 14th, is the most intense meteor shower of the year. It lasts for days, is rich in fireballs, and can be seen from almost any point on Earth. It's also NASA astronomer Bill Cooke's favorite meteor shower"”but not for any of the reasons listed above. "The Geminids are my favorite," he explains, "because they defy explanation." Most meteor showers come from comets, which spew ample meteoroids for a night of 'shooting...

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2010-10-27 08:12:39

This month, Comet Hartley 2 has put on a good show for backyard astronomers. The comet's vivid green atmosphere and auburn tail of dust look great through small telescopes, and NASA's Deep Impact/EPOXI probe is about to return even more dramatic pictures when it flies past the comet's nucleus on Nov. 4th. Another kind of show might be in the offing as well. Could this comet produce a meteor shower? "Probably not," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, "but the other night...

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2010-08-12 12:53:06

Perseid Meteor Shower: Afternoon Chat, Then Up All Night! Looking for a little excitement as the summer draws to a close? This year's Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug. 12-13, and it promises to be one of the best displays of the year. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a peak display of at least 80 meteors per hour. A waxing crescent moon will set before the shower becomes active, setting a perfect stage for meteor watching -- weather permitting, of course! On Thursday,...

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2010-07-22 10:15:00

Summer means fireworks, and here's how to see some of Nature's best displays. Start with a few comets streaking around the solar system, leaving behind dusty trails of gas, ice, rocks and dust. Then find a comfortable nighttime seat on planet Earth as it passes through these dusty comet trails. Finally, sit back and enjoy the show as bits of leftover comet burn up in our atmosphere, creating the celestial displays that we call meteor showers. On Thursday, July 22, astronomer Bill Cooke from...

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2009-12-13 17:50:00

Make hot cocoa. Bundle up. Tell your friends. The best meteor shower of 2009 is about to fall over North America on a long, cold December night. "It's the Geminid meteor shower," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "and it will peak on Dec. 13th and 14th under ideal viewing conditions." A new Moon will keep skies dark for a display that Cooke and others say could top 140 meteors per hour. According to the International Meteor Organization, maximum activity should occur...

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2009-11-17 08:20:00

This year's Leonid meteor shower peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. If forecasters are correct, the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of meteors over North America followed by a more intense outburst over Asia. The phase of the Moon will be new, setting the stage for what could be one of the best Leonid showers in years. "We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment...

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2009-07-31 06:15:00

Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won't peak until August 11th and 12th, the show is already getting underway. Don't get too excited, cautions Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "We're just in the outskirts of the debris stream now. If you go out at night and stare at the sky, you'll probably only see a few Perseids per hour." This will change, however, as August unfolds....


Word of the Day
cruet
  • A vial or small glass bottle, especially one for holding vinegar, oil, etc.; a caster for liquids.
This word is Middle English in origin, and ultimately comes from the Old French, diminutive of 'crue,' flask.
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