Look! The Sky is Falling!

by trg

The Perseid meteor shower is an annual display of shooting stars in Northern Hemisphere and is nearing its peak time of 2011. The Perseid shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle and had been observed for 2000 years. The Perseids normally peak at 100 or more meteors per hour in the absence of moonlight.

This year, unfortunately, when the shower peaks this Friday generating 60 or more meteors per hour, the majestic view will be hampered by the full moon, which will wash out all but the brightest meteors. The meteor will be visible only at 20-30 per hour at most at the peak overnight on August 12 and 13.

Tonight, however, may be the time when the Perseids are most visible to the naked eye.

Of course, meteor showers are best viewed with friends while lying in a recliner. Telescopes and binoculars are not needed and in fact will only interfere with meteor viewing as meteors move t0o fast to track with a telescope or a pair of binoculars. Look to the northeast just after midnight. Getting away from city lights will help viewing. While waiting for a shooting star, notice and the galaxies and constellations. Catch the astronomy bug. Then come back here and learn how to buy your very own telescope and begin a lifetime hobby of star gazing!

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