Monthly Archives: August 2016

OBSERVING THE PERSEID SHOWERS – Thursday 11th August

Have you perhaps ever wondered why meteor showers occur? Or have you ever questioned why certain meteor showers tend to peak during the same time of year annually?

perseid-meteor-shower

This year, the Perseid meteor shower is set for its best show in nearly 20 years You can expect to see up to 150 ‘shooting stars’ per hour when 2016’s best meteor shower peaks the night of August 11/12.

The Astronomical Society is organizing a night under the stars, on the night of the Perseid meteor shower’s peak. The event shall be on August 11th, starting from 9pm onwards. We shall be on site at Xghajra at end of Triq il-Grottli  to observe the Perseid meteor shower, and we shall also be bringing along telescopes to look at other cosmic objects of interest that are currently visible from Malta!

 

Location of ativity

Location of ativity

All those who wish to join with their own telescopes or binoculars are more than welcome!

This annual shower seemingly has it all: It offers a consistently high rate of meteors year after year; it produces a higher percentage of bright ones than most other showers; it occurs in August when many people take summer vacation; and it happens at a time when nice weather and reasonable nighttime temperatures are common north of the equator. No other major shower boasts all four of these attributes.

In a typical year, observers under a clear dark sky can expect to see up to 100 meteors per hour. Astronomers think we may be in for an even better show this year, however.

The Perseids begin as tiny specks of dust that hit Earth’s atmosphere at 37 miles per second, vaporizing from friction with the air and leaving behind the streaks of light we call meteors. These dust particles were born in a periodic comet known as 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which last returned to the inner solar system in 1992. But the giant planet Jupiter recently nudged Swift-Tuttle’s debris stream closer to Earth’s orbit. If predictions hold true, we could see up to 150 meteors per hour the night of August 11/12.

The best views will come in the predawn hours of Friday morning the 12th, after the waxing gibbous Moon sets around 1 a.m. local daylight time. The spectacle will continue to improve as dawn approaches because the shower’s radiant — the spot on the border between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia where the meteors appear to emanate from — climbs higher.

As always, you’ll see more meteors at a viewing site far from any artificial lights. Look about two-thirds of the way from the horizon to the zenith, but don’t get tunnel vision gazing at one location. Let your eyes wander so your peripheral vision can pick up meteors you otherwise might not see. Keep comfortable by reclining in a lawn chair or lying on an air mattress. And bring along a sweater or light jacket. Even if evening temperatures are comfortable, you won’t be active and can get chilled in a hurry.

 

Stella Maris College Scouts 60 years of glorious scouting!

Stella Maris College Scouts mark 60th anniversary

Group photo taken in 2015 prior to the annual parade.

Group photo taken in 2015 prior to the annual parade.

Group photo taken in the 1960s, when Charles Johnson was group scout master.
Group photo taken in the 1960s, when Charles Johnson was group scout master.

The Stella Maris College Scouts are marking their 60th anniversary.

Since its formation in 1956, the Stella Maris College Scout Group has provided countless children, youths and adults with experiences which are still fondly remembered and cherished throughout their life.

At 60 years, the group is stronger than ever before, thanks to the dedication and passion shown by its current 100 members.

In 1956, Bro. James Calleja (college director), Capt. Henry Callaby (district commissioner, Oak District) and Edward Tortell (assistant district commissioner, Oak District) held a meeting and agreed that a college scout group should be formed. On their invitation, Cecil Crockford (an Old Boy of the college who had a good scouting background) accepted to assist in this by taking on the post of group scoutmaster.

The scarf colours chosen at the time were blue with a white stripe on the back, reminiscent of the traditional college colours. Shortly after, the first Troop members were officially invested as scouts.

A year later, the Cub section was introduced for the younger members and later on in the group’s history, the Venture section was established for older scouts.

Brother James presenting the new colours to the group scoutmaster in 1957 during a flag presentation.
Brother James presenting the new colours to the group scoutmaster in 1957 during a flag presentation.

In March 1984, the group was rekindled under the leadership of GSL Major Frederick Cauchi Inglott, who together with a team of seven leaders, a group council and chaplain, offered scouting for the three sections – the Pack, Troop and Unit.

In the 1990s, with the approval of the college director, the group also opened its doors to female members. The latest addition was the Band section, which was established in 2009 to complement the group’s offering.

Thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of both current and past members, the Stella Maris College Scout Group is nowadays a highly active group forming part of the Scout Association of Malta.

Throughout its history, it has always provided its members with a fun, challenging, adventurous and jam-packed programme of meetings and activities, locally and abroad.

Through a wide variety of activities (such as camping, pioneering, mapping, first aid, cooking, hiking, abseiling, target shooting and community service), the group helps build its members’ character by challenging them in the social, physical, intellectual, creative, emotional and spiritual aspects and give them the social skills needed to succeed in life in a fun and adventurous way.

The group has always strived to provide its members with the best scouting experience possible, and aims to continue to do so for many more yearsto come.

As part of its anniversary celebrations, the Stella Maris College Scout Group will be holding a get-together and reunion for all current and past members on Friday. All former members are urged to join the SMC Scouts – Ex Members’ Facebook group or get in touch via e-mail atmail@smcscouts.com for more details.

Stella Maris College Scouts taking part in a raft-building exercise in 2013, with scouts from the Keswick Scout Group with whom the group is currently twinned.Stella Maris College Scouts taking part in a raft-building exercise in 2013, with scouts from the Keswick Scout Group with whom the group is currently twinned.
Obstacle course during a recent Easter camp.
Obstacle course during a recent Easter camp.