February 11, 2013

Sara Lynn McCall, Graduate Assistant

VSU Planetarium Presents ‘In 1913: A Procession of Meteors’

VALDOSTA – The Valdosta State University Planetarium will present ‘In 1913: A Procession of Meteors’ at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, in Nevins Hall 3004.

The show will explore a phenomenon viewed about 100 years ago in February of 1913 and reported on initially by Canadian astronomer Clarence Chant. On that day, from Alberta, Canada, observers reported an extended line of fireballs slowly moving across the sky in a "procession" from the west-northwest to the south-southeast. After decades of research, eyewitness accounts extended the viewing area to some 7000 miles or more, which is about one quarter the distance around the Earth.

Unlike typical meteors, those quick streaks of light were moving slowly, nearly parallel to the surface and not burning up nor falling to the surface. Researchers think these objects may represent bodies captured by Earth that grazed the atmosphere in their lowest pass by the planet. The analysis is ongoing and related research into statistics on meteors may soon involve VSU.

“In our society's personal experience, this procession resembles the re-entry of a decaying satellite,” said Dr. Martha Leake. “I also will be showing our audience the high points of the February evening skies, our moon, the planet Jupiter, the beautiful stars of the winter loop, including familiar Orion, and the reappearance of our Big Dipper/Ursa Major.”

At 6 p.m. outside the planetarium, free tickets will be distributed for these shows on a first come, first served basis. Those holding tickets for the show may return about 15 minutes prior to the show to be ushered into the planetarium shortly after. Individuals may enjoy telescope viewing on the roof before or after the program.

This planetarium program is suitable for viewers ages five and up. Seating is limited to 47 people. For more information, please contact the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences at 229-333-5752.