WAAAAAY cooler than a bird or a plane …. a meteor shower!! This summer’s Perseid meteor shower is expected to be more prolific than most. The Perseids occur regularly in August as Earth’s revolution passes through the dust and debris left behind by 1992’s Comet Swift-Tuttle (This comet with its elongated elliptical orbit won’t pass by Earth again until 2126!) Most Augusts you can be expected to see around 50 meteors per hour. This year, astronomy experts are predicting 150-200 meteors per hour!
The best viewing will be after midnight, after our waxing moon sets and the sky is darkest. I have already been treated to a view of a few of the early meteors so it is not too soon to start watching. Take any opportunity you have starting NOW to patiently watch the night sky. However, the Perseid light show is expected to peak after midnight on Thursday (8/11) until dawn on Friday (8/12). I plan to go to bed early and set my alarm for around 2:00am. It’s summer! Why not?
Find the darkest place you can away from light pollution. The best way to view is to lie on your back and look straight up. I grab a lawn chair and a pillow 🙂 The more sky you can see (less trees!) the better. Try to watch with family or friends to make it fun. Give your eyes at least 30 minutes or so to adjust to the darkness. If anyone gets a great photograph(s) please share.
If you miss the chance to get outside and see with your own eyes this spectacular event, you can check out NASA’s UStream video footage later…
I wonder what a meteor shower looks like from the ISS?