August 12, 2014
Perseid Meteor Shower 2014 (US)
Drawing inspiration from travel and time-lapse footage documenting meteor showers, doodler Sophie Diao takes users on an animated journey for this year's Perseid Meteor Shower.
What is the Perseid Meteor Shower and why are we celebrating it in a doodle?
The Perseids are a spectacular meteor shower that happens every year in August. We've doodled them before, but we wanted to bring them back this year to encourage users to learn more about this fantastic celestial event.
What inspired the look and feel of your animation? It definitely has a more ambient, soothing quality compared to some of the quirkier doodles we've seen.
I was inspired by long drives I've taken and trips to national parks, as well as by the subject matter –space! One of my favorite road trip memories is driving up the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur and pulling over to observe the stars. The visual spectacle in front of you, combined with being "in the middle of nowhere," definitely evokes some type of feeling.
Did you do manage to see any shooting stars during your research phase?
Not in person - but the research phase was really fun! Most of my research involved watching actual time-lapse footage of previous meteor showers. In my reading, I learned that meteors appear to "radiate" from a central point but that you can see them all across the sky (Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, from which they get their name). However, every once in a while, a meteoroid will become separated from the stream, and enter our atmosphere at a different angle. There are also other smaller meteor showers that happen at the same time at the Perseids. I tried to pay homage to these "loners" by throwing a few of them in the video - you'll see that they appear to come from other angles in the sky.
The music is cool. How'd you score that (pun intended)?
The music was composed by Niko Leiva. The track was inspired by the mountains of Bolivia, but I think its contemplative mood fits the sky just as nicely. You can hear more of his work here.
What do you hope users will get out of watching the video?
Best case scenario: I hope it inspires people to go out and see the meteor shower for themselves! But at the very least, be reminded that there's a meteor shower going on right above us, and that the universe is amazing!
Thank you! And thanks also to engineer Corrie Scalisi for her work in launching this doodle, and Katy Wu for helping with the background of the last scene!