The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight! When & Where To Look...

I am a huge fan of meteor showers and I am always excited to tell you of the potential to see meteors shoot across the sky. Tonight, the Delta Aquarid meteor shower will peak in our area and I want to get you the specifics so you know where to look. Here are the details courtesy of NASA article from 2014 with some tweaks I made to apply to 2015...


Delta Aquarids

A Delta Aquarid meteor. Credit: Jimmy Westlake
A Delta Aquarid meteor. Credit: Jimmy Westlake

2015 Delta Aquarids Forecast
This year the Delta Aquarids will peak 28-29 July. This year's peak occurs during a near full moon, which is not the ideal situation for viewing. Begin looking for these faint meteors after midnight - 2 am.

Fast Facts

  • Comet of Origin: Unknown, 96P Machholz (suspected)
  • Radiant: Constellation Aquarius
  • Active: 12 July - 23 Aug. 2015
  • Peak Activity: 28-29 July 2015
  • Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 - 20 meteors per hour
  • Meteor Velocity: 41 km (25 miles) per second

About the Meteor Shower
The Delta Aquarids are active beginning in mid-July and are visible until late-August. These faint meteors are difficult to spot, and if there is a moon you will not be able to view them. If the moon has set, your best chance to see the Delta Aquarids is when meteor rates rise during the shower's peak at the end of July.

If you are unable to view the Delta Aquarids during their peak, look for them again during the Perseids in August: You will know that you have spotted a Delta Aquarid if the meteor is coming from the direction of the constellation Aquarius -- its radiant will be in the southern part of the sky. The Perseid radiant is in the northern part of the sky.

Viewing Tips
The Delta Aquarids are best viewed in the Southern Hemisphere and southern latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Find an area well away from city or street lights. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. However, looking halfway between the horizon and the zenith, and 45 degrees from the constellation of Aquarius will improve your chances of viewing the Delta Aquarids. In less than 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient -- the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.

Where Do Meteors Come From?
Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. When comets come around the sun, the dust they emit gradually spreads into a dusty trail around their orbits. Every year the Earth passes through these debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.

The Comet
The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Delta Aquarids are suspected to originate from comet 96P/Machholz. This short period comet orbits the sun about once every five years.

Comet Machholz was discovered by Donald Machholz in 1986. Comet Machholz's nucleus is 6.4 km ( about 4 miles) across (this is a little more than half the size of the object hypothesized to have led the demise of the dinosaurs).

The Radiant
Their radiant -- the point in the sky from which the Delta Aquarids appear to come from -- is the constellation Aquarius. The third brightest star within this constellation is called Delta. This star and the constellation is also where we get the name for the shower: Delta Aquarids.


The bottom line is this not the best meteor shower of the year and tends to be a bit better for locations south of us. To complicate matters a bit, the moon is near full meaning only the bright Delta Aquarid Meteors will be visible. With that said, we have already had reports of fireballs in KY during this meteor shower so it is worth the try especially if you have a pair of binoculars to use. The weather should cooperate with party cloudy skies for most of the night. Here is a look at AdvanceTrak tonight and you can see the partly cloudy skies with low rain chance.


AdvanceTrak 1


AdvanceTrak 2


AdvanceTrak 3


In about 1 month, the infamous Perseid meteor shower will occur, so this may be our best shot at meteor viewing of the summer. We will blog about the Perseids as we close in.




Remember it is Summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".


If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!





Weather Blog: Humidity Drop = Storm Chances

From Jude Redfield...

    Only spotty pop up style storms are in the forecast this afternoon and tonight. Where they hit they hit hard with VERY HEAVY downpours. The risk for severe weather is VERY LOW today.
The cold front arriving late tomorrow gives us the best chance for storms that we'll see over the next 7 days. At this point our storm chance tomorrow looks to be in the 50/50 range.

Bardstown Courthouse

While widespread severe storms aren't expected tomorrow a few could easily reach severe limits. Thankfully wind energy is lacking as the cold front moves by otherwise we would be in for real trouble. Gusty straight-line winds in excess of 50mph and blinding downpours are the main hazards through Wednesday night.


Did someone mention relief? The reason we have storms in the forecast tomorrow is due to the drop in humidity expected. This boundary of jungle-like air meeting up with drier air will be responsible for our 50% chance tomorrow. The payoff could be worth it though as temps become more seasonable for the end of the week. 



Some Of The Data Shows Strong Storms Later This Week! My Analysis Of The Threat....

By the middle of this work week, we will watch a front move across the area and it will interact with our hot / humid air in place. With all the heat and humidity in the area, it is justified to look and see if any of this could produce severe weather. The Storm Prediction Center does have severe probabilities for our area and that is where we begin the discussion.


Storm Prediction Center Severe Weather Risk For Wednesday


The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has their "general t-storm" risk or what they call a marginal risk posted for our area on Wednesday. This is below the slight risk category and therefore we don't show it on TV, but for the blog I will show it here.


SPC Categorical Risk Of Severe Weather Wednesday

Notice SPC has their marginal risk for our whole area on Wednesday.


Spc 3 cat


SPC Probabilistic Risk Of Severe Weather Wednesday

Notice SPC has a 5% chance of severe weather for their marginal risk on Wednesday which is to cover "rogue" severe storms.


Spc 3 prob



My Thoughts On Our Severe Weather Risk On Wednesday


To get organized severe weather, we traditionally need specific ingredients present. Since I haven't had the chance to blog a severe risk in a little while, I want to refresh you quickly on the ingredients I look for when assessing whether a severe weather event could occur.


Severe Weather Ingredients



The forcing Wednesday comes from a weak disturbance that moves across the area combined with the weak cold front that will follow. The data shows this weak disturbance late morning to mid afternoon on Wednesday and is enough for us to give it a 50% chance. It is not a monster by any means.


Nam_500_vort 1


Wind Energy / Instability

Virtually every single day in the summer, we have instability and it will be more than enough to support on severe weather on Wednesday. In tonight's blog, I want to look at the instability and wind energy together to make it a bit easier to digest. For wind energy, we will look at a value called "bulk shear". Basically "bulk shear" needs to be near or above  35 knots / 40 mph to support organized severe weather. With the pattern looking a bit more summer-like, sometimes under ideal circumstances that criteria can flex just a touch. Wednesday, the wind energy is very low at only about 10 knots / 11 mph.  Let's take a closer look.


Instability / Wind Energy Wednesday

Notice the instability values are solid and nearly 3,000 units during the afternoon on Wednesday. At the same time, the bulk shear values are struggling near 10 knots or 15 mph. This instability is supportive of severe weather, but the wind energy is sub-standard and would be more supportive of only rogue severe storms.




The bottom line is that some of the ingredients are clearly not present in strength on Wednesday.


My Thoughts On Severe Weather Chances Wednesday


The forcing is not superb on Wednesday, but should be enough to fire some storms. There are questions still about whether the storms go in the morning, then stabilize the afternoon, and minimize the severe threat in the evening.  The evolution of any Tuesday night / early Wednesday storms will need to be resolved in the future data before I can definitively dial this timeline in. The wind energy is borderline pathetic on Wednesday and way below my criteria to support organized severe weather. Let me be clear though, in summer you can still get organized severe storms if the setup is ideal with weak mid level wind flow. There are no questions about whether the instability is supportive of severe weather, but virtually no wind energy is present.


How can you get severe weather with one ingredient virtually non-existent? With lots of fuel, sometimes the storms can organized as the cold air rushes out from them causing the line to surge southward. In this scenario, you can get a damaging wind threat with very little wind energy in the atmosphere. I think SPC is doing the right thing keeping this below organized severe weather criteria and going with the general t-storm risk for now . Once we can resolve the timeline for storms, then we can assess if an upgrade to a slight risk would be needed but it is conceivable it will be necessary.


AdvanceTrak shows the cluster of storms pop mid afternoon then move southward. Notice the "bow" shape to the storms as they move southward in the afternoon which is a signal for a strong to severe storms capable of damaging winds. This run of advancetrak does support the threat for organized severe weather on Wednesday and we will need to watch it closely.


AdvanceTrak 1


AdvanceTrak 2


AdvanceTrak 3


AdvanceTrak 4


AdvanceTrak 5



The bottom line is that some severe could occur in our area on Wednesday. The evolution still has some questions but it seems that a line of strong/severe storms could very well form during the afternoon on Wednesday. Damaging winds and hail would be the main threats.




Remember it is Summer storm season and if you want to be one of my storm spotters, you can join me on my facebook or twitter page. Just follow the link below and click "like" or "follow".


If you ever have any question, please remember I can be reached on facebook or twitter easily! Just follow the link below to my facebook or twitter page and click "LIKE/FOLLOW"!





Weather Blog: Heat Index Outlook

From Jude Redfield...

    *Dewpoint temps above 70 likely through Wednesday*  With the cloud cover and isolated showers this morning allowing for a slow start to the daytime warming we expect the heat index to be the lowest of this wave of heat. Between 3pm-6pm some heat indices will approach 100 today. Wednesday brings in the worst of the heat index with some locations possibly ending up over 105. Heat advisory territory is likely the next couple of afternoons.





**BEWARE OF THE SKEETER METER** Prime conditions over the next few days give us a 5 out of 5 on the skeeter meter.



Lots of Heat, Humidity and the Chance for Storms

It turned out to be a pretty typical late July weekend with lots of humidity and highs in the low 90's both days.  


With no real push of cooler or drier conditions coming our way real soon, it looks like the heat and humidity will continue to be a factor as we head into the new workweek.  

However, a weak frontal system that has stalled out into Central Illinois and Indiana, will serve as a focus for the possibility of isolated, mainly afternoon/evening, storms over the next few days ahead.  


Let's time it out with AdvanceTrak...

Following a mainly dry start to the day, the heat quickly builds into the afternoon on Monday with a few widely scattered afternoon showers or storms.


We see a repeat on Tuesday with temps perhaps going a little warmer.  (I think with stronger ridging aloft, the rain chance may be less on Tuesday than what we will see on Monday)


Although this image of AT looks a bit overdone, we will see the chance for storms increasing by late afternoon on Wednesday.


These storms arrive with a cold front that looks to push through Wednesday night with scattered storms.


Behind this front, we'll see some very enjoyable conditions for the end of the week with low humidity and cooler temps.  

Jude will be in with a full update on WDRB in the Morning.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Less Algae, Not Clearer Water, Keeps Tahoe Blue...

Lake Tahoe’s iconic blueness is more strongly related to the lake's algal concentration than to its clarity, according to research in “Tahoe: State of the Lake Report 2015," released today by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) of the University of California, Davis. The lower the algal concentration, the bluer the lake.


Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Data from a research buoy in the lake, owned and operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, enabled Shohei Watanabe, a postdoctoral researcher at TERC, to create a Blueness Index that quantified Lake Tahoe's color for the first time.


The assumption that lake clarity is tied to blueness has driven advocacy and management efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin for decades. But Watanabe's research showed that at times of the year when the lake's clarity increases, its blueness decreases, and vice versa.


Watanabe combined the blueness measurements with data on clarity.  Clarity is measured by observing the depth at which a dinner-plate-sized white disk remains visible when lowered into the water. He was surprised to find that blueness and clarity did not correspond. In fact, they varied in opposite directions.


This is due to seasonal interplay among sediment, algae and nutrients in the lake. Clarity is controlled by sediment. Blueness is controlled by algal concentration, which in turn is controlled by the level of nutrients available to the algae.


The JPL buoy used in the study is one of four buoys established by NASA with support from TERC to calibrate and validate measurements taken by satellites flying overhead. "This particular buoy has instruments beneath the water looking up and an instrument on the buoy looking down," said JPL's Simon Hook, who collaborated with Watanabe during his research. "The combination of instruments in and above the water was used in this study to look at how light is being scattered and attenuated. That tells you something about both the color and the clarity of the lake."


The finding is good news, according to Geoffrey Schladow, director of TERC and a civil engineering professor at UC Davis. “It shows that we better understand how Lake Tahoe works, and it reinforces the importance of controlling nutrient inputs to the lake, whether from the forest, the surrounding lawns or even from the air. It’s particularly encouraging that blueness has been increasing over the last three years.”




-Rick DeLuca




Discussing Heat And Storm Chances For The Weekend & Beyond...

The weekend if off to a nice start with a mix of sun and high clouds. Temperatures are quickly warming through the 80's and we should end the day in the low 90's...


The first ting you notice when you step outside is the humidity. It was absent the past few days and now it's back. In fact, it will keep rising in the coming days making it feel even hotter...


Now that we talked about the heat, let's discuss our storm chances. Today looks completely rain-free. After sunset, a spotty downpour may try to sneak into our far western counties...

Blog 1

Sunday starts off quiet with some extra clouds, then isolated storms develop with daytime heating. Lightning and heavy rain are the main threats with any storm that fires, but MOST of us should end up mainly dry... 

Blog 2

Blog 3

The heat streak continues next week with more 90's and isolated storm chances. Make sure you check in with Kim later today for an update on WDRB. Have a nice weekend!



-Rick DeLuca






Video: Tornado Crosses Highway Near Venice, Italy...

A destructive tornado hit near Venice Italy on July 8th, 2015. The scary video was taken with a dashcam as it passed over highway A4. You can actually hear debris slamming into the car and notice how the winds change direction as the tornado moves by...


Video Courtesy: NeonDGT


Are These Rare?

With interest in tornadoes and waterspouts growing around the world, it appears the number of reports are also rising. The most recent data I was able to research suggests about up to around 40 tornado or waterspouts are observed per year in Italy. While they are less frequent in Europe than the US, they still have a very real tornado climatology. According to "The Climatology of Tornadoes And Waterspouts in Italy", the period from 1991-2000 saw 5 strong EF-3 tornadoes.



-Rick DeLuca



Air Quality Alert For Louisville Metro...



-Rick DeLuca




NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth...

NASA's Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery and the introduction of 11 other new small habitable zone candidate planets mark another milestone in the journey to finding another “Earth.” 

The newly discovered Kepler-452b is the smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone -- the area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet -- of a G2-type star, like our sun. The confirmation of Kepler-452b brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.


This artist's concept compares Earth (left) to the new planet, called Kepler-452b, which is about 60 percent larger in diameter. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

"On the 20th anniversary year of the discovery that proved other suns host planets, the Kepler exoplanet explorer has discovered a planet and star which most closely resemble the Earth and our Sun," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This exciting result brings us one step closer to finding an Earth 2.0."

Kepler-452b is 60 percent larger in diameter than Earth and is considered a super-Earth-size planet. While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a good chance of being rocky.

While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, its 385-day orbit is only 5 percent longer. The planet is 5 percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the Sun. Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 percent brighter and has a diameter 10 percent larger.


This size and scale of the Kepler-452 system compared alongside the Kepler-186 system and the solar system. Kepler-186 is a miniature solar system that would fit entirely inside the orbit of Mercury. Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt

“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, biggercousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. "It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”

To help confirm the finding and better determine the properties of the Kepler-452 system, the team conducted ground-based observations at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, and the W. M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These measurements were key for the researchers to confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-452b, to refine the size and brightness of its host star and to better pin down the size of the planet and its orbit.


There are 4,696 planet candidates now known with the release of the seventh Kepler planet candidate catalog - an increase of 521 since the release of the previous catalog in January 2015.
Credits: NASA/W. Stenzel

The Kepler-452 system is located 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The research paper reporting this finding has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

In addition to confirming Kepler-452b, the Kepler team has increased the number of new exoplanet candidates by 521 from their analysis of observations conducted from May 2009 to May 2013, raising the number of planet candidates detected by the Kepler mission to 4,696. Candidates require follow-up observations and analysis to verify they are actual planets.

Twelve of the new planet candidates have diameters between one to two times that of Earth, and orbit in their star's habitable zone. Of these, nine orbit stars that are similar to our sun in size and temperature.


Since Kepler launched in 2009, twelve planets less than twice the size of Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of their stars. Credits: NASA/N. Batalha and W. Stenzel

“We've been able to fully automate our process of identifying planet candidates, which means we can finally assess every transit signal in the entire Kepler dataset quickly and uniformly,” said Jeff Coughlin, Kepler scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who led the analysis of a new candidate catalog. “This gives astronomers a statistically sound population of planet candidates to accurately determine the number of small, possibly rocky planets like Earth in our Milky Way galaxy.”

These findings, presented in the seventh Kepler Candidate Catalog, will be submitted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. These findings are derived from data publicly available on the NASA Exoplanet Archive.


This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Scientists now are producing the last catalog based on the original Kepler mission’s four-year data set. The final analysis will be conducted using sophisticated software that is increasingly sensitive to the tiny telltale signatures of Earth-size planets.

Ames manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.



-Rick DeLuca