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  1. #1
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I am burnt out and could use some feedback. This is for a 7th grade Alabama reading textbook. I'm limited to 500 words here and I think I'm at 498, so I can't add unless I also subtract. I need fresh eyes to let me know if it makes sense.

    Stars Fell on Alabama
    by [me]

    Did it really happen? Was I really there?
    Was I really there with you?
    We lived our little drama, we kissed in a field of white
    And stars fell on Alabama that night.


    The song "Stars Fell on Alabama," written in 1934 and performed by countless jazz singers since then, refers to an astronomical event that did really happen. For two nights in November of 1833, a spectacular meteor shower graced the night sky over Alabama and the rest of the eastern United States. Eyewitnesses said that it looked as if all of the stars were falling from the sky. On the second night, there were so many meteors that the sky was lit as brightly as a clear midday. The Florence Gazette reported afterwards that the meteor shower sent "thousands of luminous bodies shooting across the firmament in every direction." It was so spectacular that many of those who witnessed it would wonder if it was really happening. Some thought the world was ending. Others simply enjoyed the show.

    Scientists would later discover that a milder version of this show happens every November. These annual showers are named the Leonid meteor showers because they appear to come from the constellation Leo in the night sky, but the meteors are actually particles of dust from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. This comet passes through the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years, leaving a trail of dust in its wake each time. Sometimes, the planet Jupiter passes close to the comet and pulls it slightly away from the sun. As a result, the comet returns time after time to leave many different trails over a wide area. The entire area covered by the comet's trails is called its stream. Over hundreds of years, the individual trails are scattered throughout the comet's stream by other planets passing through them. Each November, the Earth passes through this stream made by the many trails of the comet. If the Earth passes through an individual trail, the Leonid meteor shower can be seen clearly in the night sky. If that trail has not yet been scattered by passing planets, the shower may be as amazing as the one seen in 1833.

    In the years that followed the famous 1833 Leonid meteor shower, people watched the night sky each November, hoping for a repeat performance. In 1866, stargazers were once again treated to a remarkable light show, almost as strong as the showers of 1833. Public excitement was high again in 1899, but that November, viewers were disappointed when nothing remarkable happened. The Leonids were largely forgotten until 1966, when another strong shower occurred. This event, coupled with great leaps in the science of astronomy, revived interest in the Leonid meteor showers over the next thirty years.

    Right on schedule, viewers were treated to another impressive show in 1999, but so far, the 1833 event has not been matched. Each year, people hope the Leonid meteor showers will return to their former glory. Maybe you'll be watching when stars fall on Alabama once again.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I like it and learned something new (bonus!). I'm wondering if there's a way to give the closing sentence a little more punch. The next good show should be in 2033, right? Could what they will be doing/who they will be watching it with be tied in somehow to make give it some personal relevance?

    My younger daughter will be my current age that year. :eek:

    Edit: Crap! I don't follow instructions very well. It does make sense and it's interesting to read. And I like how you tied it into the area with the song.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    I'm not entirely sure from the article if it's strictly annual or if a particularly impressive one is expected once every 33 years. It says annual, but seems to imply 33 yearly?

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Thanks cafe! That's a good idea- the problem is that they don't always come at exactly 33 year intervals and I figured it was best to keep it vague. I just added a little thing about "the 2030s."
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    I'm not entirely sure from the article if it's strictly annual or if a particularly impressive one is expected once every 33 years. It says annual, but seems to imply 33 yearly?
    Yeah, it's complicated like a Facebook relationship, lol. Every 33 years is when the comet comes through, but the dust trail is always there so we see showers every year. They tend to be more spectacular on the 33rd years, but it's not because of the trail the comet leaves that year- the 1833 showers happened because Earth passed through the trail left in 1800. Any ideas on how to simplify that?

    Thanks for your feedback!
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Eyewitnesses said that it looked as if all of the stars were falling from the sky. On the second night, there were so many meteors that the sky was lit as brightly as a clear midday. The Florence Gazette reported afterwards that the meteor shower sent "thousands of luminous bodies shooting across the firmament in every direction." It was so spectacular that many of those who witnessed it would wondered if it was really happening. Some thought the world was ending. Others simply enjoyed the show.


    In the years that followed the famous 1833 Leonid meteor shower, people watched the night sky each November, hoping for a repeat performance. In 1866, stargazers were once again treated to a remarkable light show almost as strong remarkable as the showers of 1833. Public excitement was high again in 1899, but that November, viewers were disappointed when nothing remarkable happened. The Leonids were largely forgotten until 1966, when another strong shower occurred. This event, coupled with great leaps in the science of astronomy, revived interest in the Leonid meteor showers over the next thirty years.

    Remove bolded words, add the ones in red. Net gain = 5
    Last edited by Jae Rae; 08-06-2008 at 09:29 PM. Reason: clarified
    Proud Female Rider in Maverick's Bike Club.

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    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Any ideas on how to simplify that?
    Heh, not with 2 words to play with. Yeah, it's an irritating coincidence.

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    excellent! thank you Jae Rae!
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    In the years that followed the famous 1833 Leonid meteor shower, people watched the night sky each November, hoping for a repeat performance. In 1866, stargazers were once again treated to a remarkable light show almost as strong remarkable as the showers of 1833. Public excitement was high again in 1899, but that November, viewers were disappointed when nothing remarkable happened. The Leonids were largely forgotten until 1966, when another strong shower occurred. This event, coupled with great leaps in the science of astronomy, revived interest in the Leonid meteor showers over the next thirty years.

    Remove bolded words, add the ones in red. Net gain = 5

    Remove lime green words, net gain = 2 more
    Proud Female Rider in Maverick's Bike Club.

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Excellent, that pares it down considerably. Thanks guys.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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