When is a shower not a show...?

Following the recent disappointing performance of the much hyped Camelopardalid meteors, we in the Newbury Astro think tank have been struck by the singular inappropriateness of the term ‘shower’ when applied to many meteor events.

The English language has a large, expressive, vocabulary frequently used to describe our beloved weather. We suggest using it to provide much needed clarification about the scale of any meteor spectacle in prospect.

We therefore propose that the following nomenclature be adopted by all individuals and organisations publicising meteor events to the general public. International Meteor Organisations please take note...

<5 meteors per hour (ZHR) A drip
6-10 meteors per hour (ZHR) A trickle
11-50 meteors per hour (ZHR) A drizzle
51–100 meteors per hour (ZHR) A shower
101-500 meteors per hour (ZHR) A downpour
501-1000 meteors per hour (ZHR) A storm
>1001 meteors per hour (ZHR) A deluge!

To add further precision to the classifications we propose that the adjectives, ‘dismal’ or ‘torrential’ be applied to any of the individual descriptions as required; e.g. ’a dismal trickle of meteors’ or, ‘a torrential downpour of meteors’.

If any additional fine distinction is deemed necessary, we suggest that the word ‘bloody’ may be added to any combination of the above, as in, ‘We expect a bloody torrential deluge of meteors!’

Stronger adjectives are left to the discretion to the user, and must be dependent on the scale of the event and the nature of the audience.

We submit that this will greatly assist the more accurate description of meteor rates, and help prevent general public misunderstanding of the more outrageous claims of our esteemed colleagues in the popular media.


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