Synopsis: "The strange discovery of Viktor Hess - one hundred years of cosmic ray studies. It will very soon be the centenary of the discovery of cosmic rays by Viktor Hess which is conventionally dated to 1912. It is hard to think of another topic in physics which has remained an active field of research for so long, and which still awaits a definitive solution. Recent progress has been dramatic however and there is good reason to hope that the end is in sight even if there remains much to be done. In this talk I will outline the history of the field and then focus on recent developments as well as the future projects that are being discussed at the moment."
The ZHR at maximum is about 100, but unfortunately there will be interference from moonlight! On the night of Dec 13-14 it will be just past full, and in Gemini, just about 16˚ away from the radiant! Next night it will be a bit fainter, but still only about 20˚ below the radiant, which lies just above Castor.
The best trick is to try to hide the Moon behind some object such as a building, so that it doesn't shine directly into your eyes, and then look away about 50 degrees on the other side of the radiant.
On the 15th-16th it will have moved on into Cancer, giving an hour or two's viewing before it rises, but with the radiant still quite low.
A small compensation is that the Ursid meteors peak on December 22, with no moonlight, so if you have all your prezzies already wrapped, it's your chance for some good observing of a rather under-observed shower. The ZHR might be 10 – 20; on some occasions it has been much higher. The radiant is not far from Kocab, the second brightest star in Ursa Minor, the Little Bear
The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) is the rate which would be seen by an experienced observer, in a VERY dark sky, and with the radiant in the zenith: actual observed rates very rarely reach the nominal ZHR for various reasons.
Oscar Wilde reminds us that although we are all in the gutter, some of us are looking at the stars. This years Galway Astronomy Festival addresses the theme "New Frontiers of the Universe" from a professional as well as an amateur astronomer's perspective. The event, now in its 9th year, has become one of the most popular events in Ireland, where amateurs and professionals meet in friendship. This is essential for exchanging information, successful stargazing and mutual progress. We look forward to seeing you, hopefully under clear skies. For more details see: http://galwayastronomyclub.ie/