Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reminder: Meteor Showers

Just a quick reminder that tonight's new moon makes it perfectly timed to watch the Perseids, which should be visible until at least the 20th.  Nice and dark.  This meteor shower as I posted earlier is one of the two strongest, most dependable displays (the other is the Geminids of December).  Earth will pass through the richest part of the shower tomorrow the 13th around 1 A.M. EST, best for North American and western Europe.

These meteors were shed from the Swift-Tuttle Comet centuries ago, and as Earth orbits the sun it passes through this "river of rubble" every August.  Each meteoroid rips into our upper atmosphere at 37 miles per second, (whoosh!) creating that glowing trail of hot, ionized air.  This trail is what you'll see.  The Perseids are known to last upwards of two weeks, and some stragglers have been recorded as late as the 24th, so keep a watch.  The later at night, the more you'll see.  

As usual, the best way to watch Perseids is, find a spot with open space, no glaring lights.  Lie back and gaze into the darkest part of space - if you know your constellations, Cassiopeia is the radiant (point of perspective).  As the radiant gets higher in the night sky, the meteors will arrive nearly straight down, so you'll see more of them.  They will look like they're coming directly at you! 



Facts courtesy of Sky & Telescope, R&L, Skywatcher, sky charts 




nightmaremom said...

thanks for the reminder

firestormkids04 said...

Woo-Hoo!!  We are ready.  Blessings, Penny

queenb8261 said...

Can't wait. I sure hope we're not going to be cloudy tonight. Thanks for sharing the info.
Hugs, Barb    

preciousone25 said...

Thanks, I'm hoping we can head for the desert, tonight for a few hours, then tomorrow too!!!


gazker said...

We have too much light pollution here to be able to see. I would have to drive miles and seeing as it's my anniversary tomorrow, I don't think it would go down too well ;-)

jmorancoyle said...

    I'm so sorry to say that like the last comment, my area suffers from light pollution. I wish I were out in the country right now.