Packed and Nowhere To Go

Tonight is the peak of the Geminid meteor shower and its mostly cloudy and overcast. Not just at my place but every location I would have gone for observing. Bummer. From my backyard I observed several Geminids when the sky would clear momentarily.

Interestingly a news report recently posted by NASA says the Geminid shower has been growing in strength for decades. Next years shower will be partially compromised by the 1st quarter moon, perhaps it will be clear.

On a related weather note it was interesting to read the Weather Sealing review for the Canon 7D, with a brief mention of the 5D Mk II. My experience so far, in not so extreme conditions, is that the 5D Mk II holds up very well and with no problems from the cold or moisture.

Update 12.14.2009: early IMO data suggests the shower was very nice this year!

Extreme Astronomy

Its 6 ? (-14 ?) outside, wind is light and the sky is clear. The bright winter stars fill the eastern sky, the always striking Pleiades glowing overhead. Yes I am crazy enough to spend all night in this under the stars. But not tonight. With snow on the ground and holiday lights glowing its the worst possible time for light pollution at my place. Lest you think I’m the only unstable person that would be out I direct you to the Yahoo Extreme Astronomy Group.

Tonight I enjoyed the stars while comparing Sorel Conquest boots with older Itasca Iceberg III Pac boots. I wore the Sorels out during the Leonids so I knew they performed well in the mid 20s. But the ground was not snow packed or frozen that night. The Sorels are +1 size for me and feel good hiking about with thick socks. My Itascas are +2 size and feel big, like having clown shoes on. But for warmth they are the one. Despite the Sorel’s -40 ? rating they only have 400g thinsulate and are no match for the Itasca’s realistic -20 ? rating with its 1200g thinsulate and removable felt boot liner. Only thing better than these would be the Cabela Inferno?2000 Pac Boots.

Winter features the brightest stars of the night sky and wonderful deepsky objects. It also has some extremely cold conditions so it takes careful planning and dependable gear to enjoy it.