The annual August meteor shower provided quite a show. And it’s not too late to join the fun.
Every August, in the wee early hours of the twelfth morning, the Perseid meteor shower delights. We went out last night around 2am, when the Earth was turning directly into the trail of comet exhaust that creates the shower.
The moon was a non-factor, setting before 1am. The weather was clear and with only two fires in the region, smoke was minimal.
The following was our list of essential meteor gazing gear:
Our final count was 72 per hour.
Although the shower peaked last night, it continues on tonight. This year’s ideal conditions mean that a second evening of viewing is worthwhile, even if the rate drops off.
Note: Meteor showers are often referred to with an hourly rate. This gives the false impression that there is a steady pace to the streaking stars. But, in reality, they come in bunches, with lulls between which can be disheartening. Give yourself enough time to see the best the show has to offer.
Cooperative skies and an appropriate playlist are the only requirements for enjoying the annual show.
Every August the Earth passes through a trail of cosmic dander shed by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The result is a spectacular light show known as the Perseid meteor shower.
This year’s installment of the heavenly spectacle promises to be a good one. The moon has already set and Doppler images indicate a high likelihood of clear skies throughout the night. With a little luck, we could be in for rates as high as 70 or 80 per hour.
My nanopod playlist for tonight’s event includes Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons and Hayley Westenra. I’m also considering some Moody Blues and Eivor Palsdottir.
What music will you be listening to?
Update: The Cosmos brought its A game last night. We spotted meteors at a rate of 52 an hour, with many leaving long, arching tracers.
The annual August meteor shower peaks Sunday morning.
Every August, in the wee early hours of the twelfth morning, the Perseid meteor shower delights. We go out around 2am, when the Earth is turning directly into the trail of comet exhaust that creates the shower.
This year promises to hold ideal conditions. Unlike last year, the moon will be a non-factor, low and barely a crescent. The weather should be clear and with only one fire in the region, smoke will be minimal.
The following is my list of essential meteor gazing gear:
The last is the most important. Meteor showers are often referred to with a rate per hour. This gives the false impression that there is a steady pace to the streaking stars. But, in reality, they come in bunches, with lulls in between which can be disheartening. Give yourself time to see the best the show has to offer.
What are your essentials?
Brief Update: The night was gorgeous. Clear, calm and a late appearance by the Crescent Luna and Venus. The count was around 45-50 an hour. One might even say the stars were aligned.
Let’s face it, August sucks. Dust-filled smoky skies, dying lawns and Hobo spiders. And it’s hot, hot, hot. I worship the sun in May, but by 08/01 I’m ready for frost and falling leaves. August is the only month without a holiday (okay, technically April sometimes doesn’t have a holiday either, but only on those years when the first Sunday following the second full moon following Ash Wednesday happens to fall in March).
Reason to celebrate.
The only saving grace of the eighth month, besides my wedding anniversary, is the Perseid meteor shower.
Not this type of fireworks.
Every August 12th, the Earth passes through a band of ancient exhaust from the comet Swift-Tuttle, providing a spectacular show for anyone willing to venture out in the early morning hours.
The Perseid meteor shower is an annual event, a time for enjoyment, reflection and taking measure of our minute stature in the cosmos. Why shouldn’t it be August’s holiday?
This year’s edition was excellent. Under less than ideal conditions, we were still able to spot meteors at a rate of 30 + an hour. The air was cool and clear and full of night sounds. There was even a brief cameo by the International Space Station.
The vices of August provide spectacular hues.
It was almost enough to make me look forward to next August. Almost.