Meteorwatch 2010

July 29, 2010 21:50 by scibuff

The first big meteor shower of the year is almost here. The 12th August is the annual maximum of the Perseids but the shower can be seen for some time either side of that date and it is worth looking out for them from the evening of 11th through to the morning of 13th August. This year, the Moon will set at early evening, leaving a dark sky for theshow. The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. These meteors are often bright and frequently leave persistent trains. This year, the maximum background activity is expected to reach ZHR = 110-120. Besides that, the Earth is expected to encounter a quite dense 441 trail fragment, which could increase the ZHR by 10-20.

After a tremendous success in 2009, the Twitter Meteorwatch will continue in 2010 with a few extra ways to participate. Apart from including #meteorwatch hash tag in your tweets, this year you will be able to add photos to the meteorwatch gallery* and see the meteor activity observed by other around the world using the meteorwatch map* (still under construction). Below is the long awaited Meteorwatch 2010 Trailer created by Adrian West / @VirtualAstro.

Meteorwatch 2010 Trailer

* … both of which are the reason I have not written a blog post in three weeks

Search Tags extension to the Twitter Tools WordPress Plugin

June 5, 2009 10:10 by scibuff

I like the Twitter Tools plugin for WordPress that sends a message about my new blog posts automatically to my Twitter Account. However, ever since the twitter searches became popular (i.e. TwitterFall), I thought such automatic messages should also include search tags.

Therefore, I wrote a very simple plugin to automatically add  twitter search tags, based on the post tags, to the “New Blog Post” twitter status messages. Furthermore, since twitter limits the status message length to 140 characters I have also added my favorite URL shortener service to save more space for the search tags. Using this plugin the automated status message will have a format of

	New Blog Post: [Post Title] [Post Url] #tag1 #tag2 #tag3

In this initial release, the twitter search tags are created automatically from the tags assigned to the post. If the plugin turns out to be popular I will add some sort of customization and options panels to the Dashboard in the future.

Download the Twitter Tools Search Tags plugin