August 11, 2007

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

This weekend is a treat for skywatchers and amateur astronomers. The annual Perseid meteor shower should be beautiful because it arrives while a new moon is in the sky. As many as 60 meteors per hour may be visible, with larger ones leaving a streak across the night sky as they burn up in our atmosphere.

As a bonus, the planet Mars will be visible as a bright red dot in the sky to the northeast.

Unlike most astronomical events, meteor watching is done best without telescope or binoculars. Get comfortable, pick out a patch of black sky away from light pollution, and watch patiently. The closer towards dawn, the more meteors you might see. The peak number should be Sunday night into Monday morning, but they'll be visible for several nights afterwards too.

Every August at this time the Perseid shower occurs. Named for the constellation Perseus - because that's where the meteors appear to come from - their real origin is the comet Swift-Tuttle. When Earth crosses the path of the comet, debris from the comet's passing enters our atmosphere and gives us a light show.

This was cross-posted at The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls.

Posted by Ted at August 11, 2007 02:03 PM | TrackBack
Category: SciTech

Oh! Thanks for the reminder!

Kinda hard to catch them here in hazy Florida. The Leonids are usually a good show, though.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 12, 2007 11:49 AM

. . . the key phrase being "patch of black sky away from light pollution," which, thanks to jerkwads in our area with sodium lights --- yep, in the PLURAL --- is damned tricky (but nonetheless POSSIBLE, and getting better *each day* thanks to my own Project "Impenetrable Screen Via Dense & Indiscriminate Reforestation").

Still, we saw the Hubble pass by last night, which was cool.

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