Perseids This Week!

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Perseids This Week!

Postby Swamprat » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:21 pm

Fox News

Spectacular Perseid Meteor Shower Due Wednesday


By Joe Rao
Published August 10, 2010

Space.com

S. Kohle & B. Koch, Bonn University

Every August, just when many people go vacationing in the country where skies are dark, the best-known meteor shower — the Perseid meteor shower — makes its appearance.

The "shooting stars" promise to deliver an excellent show this year to anyone with clear and dark skies away from urban and suburban lights.
The best time to watch for meteors will be from the late-night hours of Wednesday, Aug, 11 on through the predawn hours of Aug. 13 – two full nights and early mornings. Patient skywatchers with good conditions could see up to 60 shooting stars an hour or more.

Excellent prospects this year

According to the best estimates, in 2010 the Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday.

The best window of opportunity to see the shower will be the late-night hours of Wednesday on through the first light of dawn on the morning of Thursday, and then again during the late-night hours of Aug. 12 into the predawn hours of Aug. 13.

The Moon, whose bright light almost totally wrecked last year's shower, will have zero impact this year; unlike last year when it was just a few days past full, this year it will be new on Monday, Aug. 9, meaning that there will be absolutely no interference from it at all.

What to expect

A very good shower will produce about one meteor per minute for a given observer under a dark country sky. Any light pollution or moonlight considerably reduces the count.

The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yields 90 or 100 meteors per hour. Anyone in a city or near bright suburban lights will see far fewer. [Video: Perseid

However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers. Typically during an overnight watch, the Perseids are capable of producing a number of bright, flaring and fragmenting meteors, which leave fine trains in their wake.

On the night of shower maximum, the Perseid radiant is not far from the famous "Double Star Cluster" of Perseus (hence the name, "Perseid"). Low in the northeast during the early evening, it rises higher in the sky until morning twilight ends observing. Shower members appearing close to the radiant have foreshortened tracks; those appearing farther away are often brighter, have longer tracks, and move faster across the sky.

About five to 10 of the meteors seen in any given hour will not fit this geometric pattern, and may be classified as sporadic or as members of some other (minor) shower.

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Read more:
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/08/ ... ected-aug/
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