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Perseid Peak

2:14 pm in Astronomy by Ted Keller

NASA

The Perseid meteor shower should peak tonight as the earth passes through the most dense portion of the wide comet trail of Swift-Tuttle.

The peak could be as high as 100 meteors per hour although this can never be accurately known and certainly can’t be pinned down to the specific hour.

Clouds in the Ozarks this afternoon are turning into showers and storms and what typically happens is the lower portion of these storms will vanish but will leave “debris” or leftover clouds up high.  I doubt these will cause any serious obstructions to viewing.

Another aid will be the lack of a moon tonight, helping to make the sky as dark as possible.  You will what to help yourself in this regard by getting as far away from city lights or local light sources as possible.

Lots of people have been asking when and where to look.  The when is easy, the darkest time of the night so if you are too close to sunrise or sunset, your chances are limited.  Only the very largest meteors will be visible during let’s say twilight and since many people will be awake still during this part of the evening, these meteors often obtain a lot of attention when and if they occur!

Where?  The radiant direction is the point in the sky where meteors will appear to be coming from and in this case it is the constellation Perseus which at around midnight will be in the northeastern sky.  Of course, the constellation rises the later it becomes.  I really think just looking up and watching carefully will do just fine.

Northern Lights, Well, Up North!

6:13 pm in Astronomy by Ted Keller

Northern Lights Tuesday Night from Spaceweather.com

The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights were observed last night across northern Europe and North America. This was the result of an interesting show on the surface of the sun on Sunday, August 1st.

According to Spaceweather.com, two CME’s (Coronal Mass Ejections) occurred on the side of the sun facing earth on Sunday. The first arrived yesterday afternoon and was responsible for last night’s mild light show.

The second CME  is due to to hit earth August 4/5.  This will likely result in more northern light sightings at high latitudes again tonight.

For our latitude at approximately 37 degrees north, the Aurora Borealis is difficult to see.  Some clouds may be a problem later tonight for folks living north of Springfield.

Aurora Borealis on Tuesday?

2:42 pm in Astronomy by Ted Keller

The sun exhibited some interesting behavior on August 1st, you can read more about it here.  The upshot of this activity is a coronal mass ejection (CME) is headed toward earth and will start interacting with the earth’s magnetic field on Tuesday, August 3rd.

This means that the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights might activate!  Now, at our latitude here in the Ozarks, seeing the Northern Lights is always difficult.  But it does appear is if skies will remain clear enough to have a shot at seeing something if it occurs.  Remember to get where it is dark and where you have the best view of the northern horizon!

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