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Astronomers predict a better than average rate for Fourthiads this year

07/04/2004 12:00AM

Astronomers predict a better than average rate for Fourthiads this year
Often seen over city parks, suburban playgrounds and rural farmlands, these unusual meteor showers festoon the sky with myriad colors and amazing variety and are often accompanied by dramatic sounds as well. Booms and hisses are often reported and animals seem particularly sensitive to the noise they make as they erupt in the atmosphere.

Scientists are at a loss to explain these amazing sights, often preferring to leave their professional posts, join with their families, and simply partake in the excitement right along with the general public.

Some theories propose that these are a form of heat-lightning generated by the unbridled exuberance of the organic life forms they seem bent on entertaining. Other, less scientifically rigorous sources, proffer darker theories involving ancient rituals and ceremonies that have their roots in male dominated tribal or fraternal organizations with odd designations such as the mysterious "Kiwanis" or the "Jay Cees".

Whatever the cause of these colorful and illuminating displays, we'd like to offer the following tips for making the most of your observing time.

1. No matter where you plan to set up, plan on leaving early, parking will be a problem.

2. Leave the scope and binoculars at home. A blanket is all you'll need in terms of astro-gear.

3. Liquid refreshment is crucial as it aids in visual acuity and correct Alt-Az orientation.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, blink.

5. Have a terrific Night of the Fourthiads!

-The whole gang at AstroMart/ATWB