Tonight, August 12, 2010 is the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
For a great photo of a Perseid meteor from my friend George Gajdos, click here.
The Perseids are named for the constellation Perseus, from which they appear to radiate, though more correctly they are remnant debris left over from the comet Swift-Tuttle.Frequencies of up to 45 sightings per hour are possible for us in the northern hemisphere. There are some great facts about this meteor shower HERE.
Tomorrow night, August 13th will also be a great night for viewing if it is clear.
So what do meteors have to do with precision machining?
Jahangir dagger forged from meteorite.
Ultimately machining relies on tools and tooling, and meteoric iron was an early “tool” material.
What we take for granted today, (Steel) is a commodity, abundant and worthy of fighting in a court of law over regarding “dumping and trade cases” was not so very long ago, precious, rare, and literally the best material on earth which fell out of the sky…Truly a material of heavenly origin.
Here is the story of the Jahangir Dagger from the Smithsonian as quoted from Wareham Forge blog:
“At dawn a tremendous noise arose in the east. It was so terrifying that it nearly frightened the inhabitants out of their skins. Then, in the midst of tumultuous noise, something bright fell to the earth from above….”
From the Jahangirnama (1605-24)
Thus did Emperor Jahangir describe a meteor that landed within his kingdom in April 1621. His fascination with unusual natural events—and his power to harness their aura—is revealed by this dagger’s blade, forged from the glittering meteorite. Jahangir further noted that the blade “cut beautifully, as well as the very best swords.”
So if the skies are clear in your part of the world tonight, and you get to see some streaks of the meteors from the comet Swift Tuttle lighting up the sky, I hope they remind you of a time where the steels and irons and alloys that we take for granted were at one time precious, rare, and “sky magic” of the very best kind. Good viewing and good machining to you as you use your tools to best purpose.
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 at 4:06 am and is filed under Break Room. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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Welcome to our blog, Speaking of Precision. As Director of Technology and Industry Research for PMPA, I bring 38 years of hands-on experience in areas of manufacturing, quality and steelmaking. I help answer "HOW?","WITH WHAT?" and "REALLY?"