New York City’s world infamous noisiness, brutish pace, with complete lack of empathy or personal
space let up last night to the magic of something bigger than the leviathan city itself. Viewed from Brooklyn, Staten Island or Jersey, the fact is that only about one percent of the cosmic spectacle an amateur astronomer could have ogled in the days of Galileo.
METEOR SHOWERS TRANSGRESS NYC LIGHT
This penchant for stolid skies broke last night, was even transgressed, as even the atrocious level of light pollution could not disguise the explosions in the sky from the Perseid meteor shower, whose origin is the Swift-Tuttle Comet.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?
We have been given this neat display as a result of the Swift-Tuttle comet’s unusually close encounter with the third planet of the solar system, causing it (this third planet) to pass through a thin, cylindrical-shaped trail of rocky particles such that many burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a dazzling display of cosmic destruction.
“Crumbs of matter left behind by the comet scream into the atmosphere and die a breathtaking death,” the Times reporter Dennis Overbye once wrote of the meteor shower in 2002. Some favored places in the city to view the meteor shower include Inwood Hill Park, Central Park, the High Line, and Marine Park in Brooklyn.
AND YOU MISSED IT
However, yesterday’s eve was special enough to overrule the limits of light pollution. In lesser-known stargazing sights, such as Battery Park, or the rooftops of Dumbo, several fireballs were seen between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.
BUT IT’S TOO LATE FOR YOU
It is true that this year’s meteor shower’s peak has passed, it’s in the past and it’s not coming back, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still catch the tail end of the show. Following is a list of events from which to view what’s left of the meteor shower, as assembled by the New York Times:
–At 8 p.m. tonight catch a free sky-viewing party on Central Park’s Great Lawn.
–Ever wanted to see Saturn? The Amateur Astronomers Association will have a look at the old wise wanderer form the Lincoln Center in a part of the group’s schedule of viewings across the city. Members of the association will also bring their telescopes to the High Line for visitors to ogle the sky with every Tuesday night through October. Oh yeah, and it’s totally Free.
–Columbia University’s astronomy department s holding one of its occasional telescope observations tonight, to follow a Free showing of the Hubble movie in IMAX.
–Urban Park Rangers will be at Fort Greene Park to speak about the folklore and history of the solar system, one of many astronomy-themed events happening at city parks.
–And finally, if you’re up for seeking alternative venues for better, darker skies, check out Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, Great Kills Park on the southeastern shore of Staten Island.