Don't miss this spectacular display in the sky this weekend!
Perseid meteor shower is the best shower all year.
This weekend provides an excellent opportunity for you to catch some falling stars as the Perseid meteor shower peaks. This legendary shower produces the brightest and best display of shooting stars each year.
This meteor shower, which occurs at the same time each year, normally produces about 100 meteors per hour, although many of those require ideal conditions to view. On average, a vigilant watcher under suburban skies may still see several per hour, but nothing close to the dozens that dark-sky viewers can expect.
The Perseid meteor shower is caused by dust left in the trail of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which rounds the Sun every 133 years. Those particles of dust, left behind by the comet, strike the Earth's upper atmosphere at 37 miles per second and vaporize in a flash of light.
Since the parent comet is so large, about 16km across, it also sheds more and larger bits of material than other comets. This translates into brighter meteors during this shower than any other. The larger bits can survive all the way down to 10 to 20 miles above the Earth's surface, creating bright meteors referred to as fireballs.
A fireball is usually so bright it can cast faint shadows under dark skies.
This year's display is expected to be excellent. The moon sets around 10 p.m. on the night of August 11, when the shower peaks. Without the brightness of the moon to interfere, more meteors will be visible.
To view the shower, observers should find the darkest skies possible. Although urban viewers may see one or two per hour, it pays to travel away from the city lights where one can enjoy the full display. The best way to view the shower is lying down or reclining while looking up at the sky. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.
Also, don't fret if you haven't got a telescope or binoculars. Meteors are better viewed with the naked eye, so skip the fancy equipment.
Finally, the most important observing tip may be to watch in the predawn hours. Observing right at nightfall won't bring you much reward. Instead, wait until after midnight when your location on Earth is turned towards the stream of particles. The rate of meteors increases substantially after midnight.
If staying up late isn't an option, consider an early bedtime the night before and rise about 90 minutes to a couple hours before dawn twilight. That should provide you with a solid hour or more of excellent predawn viewing. As a plus, temperatures outside tend to be coolest at those hours during the summers of the northern hemisphere.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- NSA is piggybacking off private web tracking to ID and watch you, find targets
- IT'S TRUE: Americans have no right to privacy when they give information to a third party -- such as cell phone provider
- Evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars discovered
- Mars One may stage ultimate anti-reality show where particpants vie to be voted OFF the planet to their demise
- NASA releases images of mysterious hexagon on Saturn
- Stanford researchers develop a way to literally read minds
- Report reveals FBI can remotely scan your computer without your knowledge
- Ultra-secret, Area-51 spy plane finally revealed to the public
- Micro-spacecraft plans to land on moon in 2015
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?