Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tonight's Sky for August 12: Perseid Meteors Peak

Technical difficulties over . . . tonight will mark the peak of the Perseid Meteor shower for 2014, thus marking the climax for the 2-week event. Every August, Earth passes through the stretch of space junk shed by Comet Swift-Tuttle, reaching the deepest concentration of debris tonight. According to some estimates, under ideal conditions (dark country skies), one can expect to see 20-30 meteors per hour. The reason the meteors are called Perseids is because the meteors seem to radiate from the constellation Perseus. The best time to view the shower is in the pre-dawn hours, with 3-6am being best, as Perseus is at its highest then.

To improve odds of seeing meteors, travel out of the city and to the country if you can. In the suburbs, just going from the front to back yard can make a dramatic difference as this will eliminate glare from those pesky street/house lights to a large extent.

Unfortunately, this year's Perseid peak coincides with the near Full Moon. The good news: even the Moon won't be able to drown-out the brightest meteors with all its light.

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