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Old 08-12-2007, 06:40 PM
Location: Camano Island, WA
1,911 posts, read 8,101,858 times
Reputation: 1089


The Earth is predicted to cut through the densest part of the Perseid stream sometime around 2 a.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 13. That corresponds to 11 p.m. PT on Aug. 12 for those living in the Western United States or Canada.

The interval when the meteors will be falling at their highest rates will likely last several hours or more on either side of these times.

As a result, it is the late-night hours Sunday, on through the first light of dawn Monday that holds the greatest promise of seeing a very fine Perseid display.

The moon, whose bright light almost totally wrecked last year's shower, will have zero impact this year. The moon will be new on Sunday, meaning that there will be no interference from it at all.


What to expect

A very good shower will produce about one meteor per minute for a given observer under a dark country sky. Any light pollution or moonlight considerably reduces the count.

The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yields 90 or 100 meteors per hour. However, observers with exceptional skies often record even larger numbers. Typically during an overnight watch, the Perseids are capable of producing a number of bright, flaring and fragmenting meteors, which leave fine trains in their wake.

On the night of shower maximum, the Perseid radiant is not far from the famous "Double Star Cluster" of Perseus (hence the name, "Perseid"). Low in the northeast during the early evening, it rises higher in the sky until morning twilight ends observing. Shower members appearing close to the radiant have foreshortened tracks; those appearing farther away are often brighter, have longer tracks, and move faster across the sky.

About five to 10 of the meteors seen in any given hour will not fit this geometric pattern, and may be classified as sporadic or as members of some other (minor) shower.

Plan your time

Perseid activity increases sharply in the hours after midnight, so plan your observing times accordingly. We are then looking more nearly face-on into the direction of the Earth's motion as it orbits the Sun, and the radiant is also higher up.

Making a meteor count is as simple as lying in a lawn chair or on the ground and marking on a clipboard whenever a "shooting star" is seen. Watching for the Perseids consists of lying back, gazing up into the stars, and waiting. It is customary to watch the point halfway between the radiant (which will be rising in the northeast sky) and the zenith, though it's perfectly all right for your gaze to wander.

Usually, good numbers of meteors should be seen on the preceding and following nights as well. The shower is generally at one-quarter strength one or two nights before and after maximum. A few Perseids can be seen as much as two weeks before and a week after the peak. The extreme limits, in fact, are said to extend from July 17 to August 24, though an occasional one may be seen almost anytime during the month of August.

Happy viewing!!
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:27 PM
Location: Moved to town. Miss 'my' woods and critters.
25,463 posts, read 11,974,220 times
Reputation: 31635
Thank you so very much for the detailed information. Was just about to do my own research and there you were with all that I needed. I live in a rural area, so hope to obtain maximum visibility of this splendid event. Now if I only had a lawn chair that would allow me to 'recline'. Again, Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:44 PM
Location: Camano Island, WA
1,911 posts, read 8,101,858 times
Reputation: 1089
Not a problem...the info was posted in an email, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share it
with anyone else who wasn't privy on the info.

BTW...no need for a lawn chair that reclines...just throw down a blanket.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:59 PM
Location: Tolland County- Northeastern CT
4,459 posts, read 6,095,523 times
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Yes Thanks

Amateur astronomer here since I was 15.
Clear warm night in Connecticut- should be wondrous.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:33 PM
Location: Red Sox Nation
660 posts, read 2,418,481 times
Reputation: 428
Well, we were enjoying the Perseid in our front yard until we were chased inside by Bats! Yes folks, Bats. Maybe we were attracting mosquitos, which attracted the Bats. I dunno, but the show was great while it lasted.
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