Monday, August 9, 2010

Perseid Meteor Showers.... coming to a night sky near you!

The Perseid Meteor showers will be happening this week. The cool thing about this amazing spectacle is no fancy telescopes or equipment are needed. Best viewing is at a high elevation, away from light pollution. Kick back on a lawn chair or air mattress, and watch Mother Nature's light show!

The 2010 Perseid meteor shower - August's famous 'shooting stars' - will peak in this coming week, on the mornings of August 12 and 13.

From the Earth Sky Site:
August 12 and 13, 2010 Perseids
And when we say August 12 or 13, we mean the morning hours after midnight … not that night. These typically fast and bright meteors radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. But you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower. The meteors appear in all parts of the sky. The Perseids are considered by many people to be the year’s best shower, and often peak at 50 or more meteors per hour. 2010 is a great year for the Perseids. This year, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, leaving a dark sky for this year’s Perseid show. 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. On the mornings of August 12 and 13, watch the Perseid meteors streak across this short summer night from midnight until dawn. Lie back and watch meteors until dawn’s light washes the stars and planets from the sky. The morning of August 11 should be good, too – in fact, this shower tends to rise gradually to a peak for about a week.

 For the Perseids, the best time is midnight to dawn on the mornings of August 12 and 13. But you might also see Perseids before those dates, since the shower builds to a peak gradually. Afterwards, it falls off rapidly. The nights before the Perseid’s peak are probably better for meteor-watching than the nights afterwards. Meteor showers occur over a range of dates, because they stem from Earth’s own movement through space. As we orbit the sun, we cross “meteor streams.” These streams of icy particles in space come from comets moving in orbit around the sun. Comets are fragile icy bodies that litter their orbits with debris. When this cometary debris enters our atmosphere, it vaporizes due to friction with the air. If moonlight or city lights don’t obscure the view, we on Earth see the falling, vaporizing particles as meteors.
The thin, crescent moon will be out of the way early, setting the stage for a potentially spectacular show. For best viewing, look to the northeast after midnight.

1 comment:

nonnie9999 said...

too many lights around here, and it's been raining every day. still, i'll probably be outside getting a stiff neck just in case there's something to see.