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Perseid Peak

2:14 pm in Astronomy by Ted Keller


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.

Perseid the Hero

3:05 pm in Astronomy by Ted Keller

 Two meteor showers are fairly reliable each year, the Perseid and Leonid, and one of them is coming up later this week.

For the upcoming Perseid meteor shower, the best viewing for this should be Thursday night.  Keep in mind that meteor showers are a bit unpredictable in terms of intensity and peak occurrence so you will likely start seeing meteors this week, reaching a peak later in the week.  I would say over the weekend too but clouds will start to be an issue for us.

Looking for meteors is pretty straightforward.  Just make the sky as dark as you can meaning get away from all bright lights.  Viewers will be helped out this year by the absence of a bright moon. 

You may read about radiant directions of meteor showers.  These are the direction most meteors will appear to radiate from and are named after the constellation the radiant point is closest to, in this case it is Perseid the Hero from Greek mythology.  Truth is, you will see meteors everywhere in the sky.

The weather looks good.  Skies should be mostly clear.  Any clouds would be the result of leftover or debris from any storms that manage to pop up in or close to the Ozarks.

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