Can you spot the missing meteor?

Pity poor astronomer Mark Thompson. Here he is, part of the BBC’s “Stargazing Live” program, telling millions of people that there’s nothing much to be seen in the skies above Macclesfield … but there’s a meteor flashing through the sky, right over his shoulder! You can see it yourself at the 7-second mark in this YouTube video. “I was completely oblivious to it,” Thompson told his BBC teammates in a follow-up video.

Scads of Twitterers told him what he missed, including Discovery News’ Ian O’Neill. “I want 360-degree eyes,” Thompson joked in his reply to O’Neill. “It’s not fair, not fair, I tell you. I seem to be making a career out of missing meteors.”

This month’s Quadrantid meteor shower has faded, I’m afraid, and the next significant meteor show won’t take place until April, when the Lyrids make their appearance. But if you go out at just the right time this weekend, you might spot a more reliable sort of shooting star: the International Space Station. Check out NASA’s sighting database to see when the station will be shining in the skies above your locale.

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Connect with the Cosmic Log community by “liking” the log’s Facebook page or following @b0yle on Twitter. You can also check out “The Case for Pluto,” my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.


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