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Look up!

Perseid meteor showers, incoming! The peak was Saturday and the full moon is stepping all over it, but it won’t be over for another week. This one is my favorite because the time of year.

Click here to watch Sir Patrick Moore talk about the Perseids.

Who he? He’s a national in-sti-tution. He’s an amateur astronomer who’s done more to spread astronomy and inspire astronomers than a whole box of Carl Sagans.

He hosts a BBC program called The Sky At Night [link only works in the UK] and has done since 1957. That got him in the Guinness Book as longest-running presenter. It’s a monthly. He only missed it once, July 2004. He ate a contaminated goose egg and nearly died.

I am so not making this up.

He’s a keen musician. A xylophonist. He once performed the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the UK” on the xylophone for the Royal Family.

Not making this up.

He looks like a Bond villain. Like somebody left an Edwardian gentleman on a hot stove and melted him. I love the Sky at Night — when we remember to tune it in. It’s worth it just to try to work out how that monocle sticks to his face.


Comment from David Gillies
Time: August 15, 2011, 9:12 pm

I love the theme music to The Sky at Night. It’s At the Castle Gate from Pelléas and Mélisande by Sibelius. Never seen the play (it’s by Maeterlinck) but the music is wonderful.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 15, 2011, 9:18 pm

Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only, says the link. Dang. But thanks for the heads up about the Perseid meteor shower. I forgot about them this year, and haven’t seen enough television lately to be reminded, either. Now I have a good excuse to sit in the dark, and drink Dos Equis with the second most interesting man in the world.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 15, 2011, 9:21 pm

Ach, sorry. Is that also true of the short clip about the Perseids? Just curious. Didn’t mean to be a tease.

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 15, 2011, 9:25 pm

Yes. The short clip did work. Now I have a crush on Sir Patrick Moore 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 15, 2011, 9:26 pm

He’s great, isn’t he?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 15, 2011, 10:57 pm

Readers will also be delighted (well, most of us!) to learn that Sir Patrick is… a bit of a Rightie (and that is as rare as hen’s teeth on the BBC!)

Comment from EZnSF
Time: August 16, 2011, 12:42 am

Christ I’m provincial. I could only understand every-other word he said.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: August 16, 2011, 1:01 am

The Perseids clip works, but the others linked “Not Available in Your Area.” First time I’ve seen a real use for an anonymizer.

I did a little better than EZ, but I have to be immersed in that accent for a little while to adjust to it.


Comment from mojo
Time: August 16, 2011, 1:01 am

Saw a pic of a Perseid entering the atmo, shot from above, by an astronaut.

“Look out!”

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: August 16, 2011, 1:20 am

Is that a Dalek in the background?

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 16, 2011, 4:17 am

It was 90 degrees on my deck, at ten o’clock tonight. I lasted about 45 minutes. Alas, no pretty falling meteors for me; it was too early. I’ll get up early Wednesday morning and try again. The moon was still low and behind my house, but the sky was so bright I could barely see the Big Dipper and North Star. I kept hoping I’d see a firefly, but I guess it’s been too dry for them. Sigh. Do you have fireflies in England?

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: August 16, 2011, 4:17 am

Looks like it to me, Mark. 🙂

Comment from Oceania
Time: August 16, 2011, 10:11 am

I remember when he was out here last. He crashed at a mates place, totally Hilarious company …

And I dooo remember that Alien Abduction Novel that he wrote under a pen name sooo long ago.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 16, 2011, 1:01 pm

We didn’t even have fireflies in Rhode Island, Deborah. I missed them.

Comment from Andrea Harris
Time: August 16, 2011, 4:07 pm

We’ve had lots of fireflies here in Virginia, especially earlier this summer after some weeks of rainy weather. Then we had a hot, dry spell, and I didn’t see any more fireflies. It’s been raining a lot again, and last night I saw a couple. I’ve read they like damp wood and standing water.

Comment from Christopher taylor
Time: August 16, 2011, 4:32 pm

Oh, he’s great, I wish they’d rerun his stuff on BBC America or something. He’s terribly British but very interesting to watch and his shows tend to be focused just on the science and the events, not some personal need to push an agenda (like, say, David Suzuki).

Comment from Oceania
Time: August 16, 2011, 11:42 pm

And of course, the classical Ditty:


Comment from Andrea Harris
Time: August 17, 2011, 2:32 am

“Is that a Dalek in the background?”

Look! It’s Oceania’s true form!

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: August 17, 2011, 3:18 am

“Anarchy in the UK” on the xylophone.

I so want a recording of that.


Comment from Oceania
Time: August 17, 2011, 6:37 am

As I have said before … I was placed upon Earth to accomplish a number of tasks ….
At the rate I am going, I will live forever …. 🙂

Don’t tempt me on the Exterminate.

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