Monday, August 9, 2010

Perseid Meteor Shower

August is the time for the most famous of all meteor (falling or shooting star) showers, the Perseids. Beginning in late July and running through about August 22, the Perseids provide the majority of meteors seen by the general public. Coming out of the constellation Perseus, they appear in the northeastern sky usually at about 11 pm and increase in frequency with most appearing in the hours after midnight. On the night of August12/13, their frequency should peak at a rate of 50-80 meteors per hour and then rapidly decline to about 10 per hour by August 15th. This year the moonless sky will provide great viewing.

To view the meteor shower, pick a dark spot away from ground lights and facing the NE. Lie on your back or position yourself so the horizon appears at the edge of your peripheral vision, with star and sky filling out your field of view. Take some time for your eyes to adapt to the dark and avoid lights like flashlights. Bug spray, food, and drinks make the evening more pleasurable. Binoculars are not necessary as your adapted night vision will do just fine. Enjoy!

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