Saturday, August 11, 2007

Catch the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

Wanna see some shooting stars? Go to somewhere dark this weekend and enjoy the Perseid meteor shower. Let's just hope the weather is good. Looks pretty cloudy so far. From Sky and Telescope:
The meteor rate increases to roughly 30 per hour in the predawn hours on Saturday, 45 per hour on Sunday morning, and 80 per hour before the sky starts to get light on Monday morning. That's for a single observer at a dark-sky site in the north temperate latitudes.

Perseid meteors are visible in every part of the sky. But wherever you see them, they appear to be moving away from the shower's radiant point near the Perseus/Cassiopeia border. This is a perspective effect, happening for the same reason that snowflakes appear to stream away from the center of the road when you're driving through a snowstorm.

On any given night, activity starts slowly in the evening but picks up by 11 p.m., when the radiant gets reasonably high in the sky. The meteor rate increases steadily through the night as the radiant rises higher, peaking just before the sky starts to get light, roughly 1½ to 2 hours before sunrise.
You don't need a telescope or binoculars to enjoy a meteor shower. Just lie down comfortably and look up at the night sky.

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