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The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower

 
Anonymous Coward
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The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
Mark your calendar: The 2008 Perseid meteor shower peaks on August 12th and it should be a good show.

"The time to look is during the dark hours before dawn on Tuesday, August 12th," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "There should be plenty of meteors--perhaps one or two every minute."

The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is far away, currently located beyond the orbit of Uranus, a trail of debris from the comet stretches all the way back to Earth. Crossing the trail in August, Earth will be pelted by specks of comet dust hitting the atmosphere at 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a flimsy speck of dust makes a vivid streak of light when it disintegrates--a meteor! Because, Swift-Tuttle's meteors streak out of the constellation Perseus, they are called "Perseids."

(Note: In the narrative that follows, all times are local. For instance, 9:00 pm means 9:00 pm in your time zone, where you live. )


Serious meteor hunters will begin their watch early, on Monday evening, August 11th, around 9 pm when Perseus first rises in the northeast. This is the time to look for Perseid Earthgrazers--meteors that approach from the horizon and skim the atmosphere overhead like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond.

"Earthgrazers are long, slow and colorful; they are among the most beautiful of meteors," says Cooke. He cautions that an hour of watching may net only a few of these at most, but seeing even one can make the whole night worthwhile.

A warm summer night. Bright meteors skipping overhead. And the peak is yet to come. What could be better?

The answer lies halfway up the southern sky: Jupiter and the gibbous Moon converge on August 11th and 12th for a close encounter in the constellation Sagittarius: sky map. It's a grand sight visible even from light-polluted cities.

For a while the beautiful Moon will interfere with the Perseids, lunar glare wiping out all but the brightest meteors. Yin-yang. The situation reverses itself at 2 am on Tuesday morning, August 12th, when the Moon sets and leaves behind a dark sky for the Perseids. The shower will surge into the darkness, peppering the sky with dozens and perhaps hundreds of meteors until dawn.

Above: The eastern sky viewed during the hours before sunrise on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008.

For maximum effect, "get away from city lights," Cooke advises. The brightest Perseids can be seen from cities, he allows, but the greater flurry of faint, delicate meteors is visible only from the countryside. (Scouts, this is a good time to go camping.)

The Perseids are coming. Enjoy the show!


 [link to science.nasa.gov] 

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
Maximum Of Perseid Meteor Shower, August 12 -13, 2008

ScienceDaily (Aug. 8, 2008) The evening of the 12th of August and morning of the 13th August is the annual maximum of the Perseid meteor shower.

At its peak and in a clear, dark sky up to 80 ‘shooting stars’ or meteors may be visible each hour. Meteors are the result of small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and in the case of the Perseid shower these come from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was last in the vicinity of the Earth in 1992. To the eye, the meteors appear to originate from a ‘radiant’ in the constellation of Perseus, hence the name Perseid.

Although the Perseids peak on the 12th August, the shower can be seen for some time either side of that date and it is worth looking out for them the night before (i.e. from the evening of 11th August). To see the meteor shower, look towards the north-eastern sky from 2200 BST onwards. In clear weather and away from the light pollution of major cities, it should be possible to see a meteor at least every few minutes, with most appearing as brief streaks of light. The waxing gibbous Moon will be in the evening sky but will have set by 0130 BST on the morning of the maximum so its light will not interfere with the view after that time.

Perhaps best of all, and unlike many astronomical phenomena, meteors are best seen with the unaided eye, rather than through a telescope or binoculars and are perfectly safe to watch.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2008 11:00 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
bump
So What I Smoke Weed

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08/10/2008 11:04 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
Can I see this from the caribbean near the equator?
Anonymous Coward
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08/10/2008 11:10 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
"located beyond the orbit of Uranus" hitit
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Can I see this from the caribbean near the equator?
 Quoting: So What I Smoke Weed


Yes, Just not in the Southern Hemisphere like South America.
Anonymous Coward
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08/10/2008 11:14 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
wow.

war,earthquakes,sun-eclipse and now signs in the heaven..

Jesus foretold real events.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2008 11:18 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids are coming! The Perseids are coming! I'm sure you're already hearing the cry around the world… But what will be the best place to watch and when will be the best date to see the most "shooting stars"? Follow along and let's find out…

The Perseid meteor shower has a wonderful and somewhat grisly history. Often referred to as the "Tears of St. Lawrence" this annual shower coincidentally occurs roughly about the same date as the saint's death is commemorated on August 10. While scientifically we know the appearance of the shooting stars are the by-products of comet Swift-Tuttle, our somewhat more superstitious ancestors viewed them as the tears of a martyred man who was burned for his beliefs. Who couldn't appreciate a fellow who had the candor to quip "I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well-cooked, it is time to turn me on the other." while being roasted alive? If nothing else but save for that very quote, I'll tip a wave to St. Lawrence at the sight of a Perseid!

While the fall rate - the number of meteors seen per hour - of the Perseids has declined in recent years since Swift-Tuttle's 1992 return, the time to begin your Perseid watch is now. While the peak of activity will not occur until August 12 at approximately 11:00 GMT, this will leave many observers in daylight. For those who wish only to observe during the predicted maximum rate, the place to be is western North America and the time is around 4:00 a.m. However, let's assume that not all of us can be in that place and be up at that time… So let's take a more practical look at observing the Perseid Meteor Shower.

For about the last week or so, I've noticed random activity has picked up sharply and traceable Perseid activity begins about midnight no matter where you live. Because we are also contending with a Moon which will interfere with fainter meteors, the later you can wait to observe, the better. The general direction to face will be east around midnight and the activity will move overhead as the night continues. While waiting for midnight or later to begin isn't a pleasant prospect, by then the Moon has gone far west and we are looking more nearly face-on into the direction of the Earth's motion as it orbits the Sun, and the radiant - the constellation of the meteor shower origin - is also showing well. For those of you who prefer not to stay up late? Try getting up early instead!

How many can you expect to see? A very average and cautiously stated fall rate for this year's Perseids would be about 30 per hour, but remember - this is a collective estimate. It doesn't mean that you'll see one every two minutes, but rather you may see four or five in quick succession with a long period of inactivity in between. You can make your observing sessions far more pleasant by planning for inactive times in advance. Bring a radio along, a thermos of your favorite beverage, and a comfortable place to observe from. The further you can get away from city lights, the better your chances will be.

Will this 2000 year-old meteor shower be a sparkling success or a total dud? You'll never know unless you go out and try yourself. I've enjoyed clear skies here for the last week and without even trying caught at least 15 per hour each night I've gone out. One thing we do know is the Perseids are one of the most predictable of all meteor showers and even an hour or so of watching should bring a happy reward!

Wishing you clear skies and good luck…


 [link to www.universetoday.com] 

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/10/2008 11:34 PM
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Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
For More Information on how to view meteors:


 [link to www.amsmeteors.org] 

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2008 12:05 AM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
In order to successfully observe a meteor shower, some familiarity with the night sky is usually required, including the use of star charts to locate constellations and locations on the celestial sphere using the Right Ascension / Declination coordinate system. Plan your observing session as close to the time of shower maximum as possible. Meteor showers are usually quite disappointing under city and suburban conditions, so a dark observation site, far from city lights is preferred. Similarly, Meteor showers which occur near the time of gibbous or full moon usually do not perform well. Many meteor shower radiants do not rise before midnight, making most meteor showers best between midnight and morning twilight.

Once at the observation site, ample time should be allotted for your eyes to adjust to dark conditions, as this can take over an hour for full dark adaptation. No magnification devices will be necessary. The use of all lights should be minimized, with only dim, red pen-lights or flash-lights used sparingly.

Most meteor observers observe from a reclining position, either in a lawn chair or sleeping bag, with their gaze directed about 45 degrees above the horizon, in the general direction of the shower radiant. The best portion of the sky to watch is usually an area of sky about 30 degrees away from the radiant point for the shower.

Due to the effect of perspective, shower meteors which appear very close to the radiant will be quite short in length, while those which appear some distance from the radiant can be quite long. Members of the same shower, while varying greatly in brightness, will share common characteristics, such as speed, color range, and potential for leaving behind a train (a glowing wake of air left behind after the meteor has passed).

It will also be noticed that the number of shower meteors seen will improve as the radiant gets higher in the sky. This is because meteors seen near the horizon are much farther away than those seen directly overhead, making them dimmer and harder to notice. Also, the light from a meteor near the horizon must pass through much more atmosphere to reach the observer than for a meteor overhead, further attenuating the light from meteors at low elevation angles.

Perhaps the key work to remember in meteor observing is patience. Most meteor showers will not produce a spectacular display, but will instead produce a steady, reliable show -- sometimes with a few surprises. Meteor watching is like watching a graceful, natural fireworks display, and you never know when or how bright the next "shot" will be.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2008 12:10 AM
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bump
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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So What I Smoke Weed

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08/11/2008 12:43 AM
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Thanks OP. I'm 10 degrees north of the equator

wow.

war,earthquakes,sun-eclipse and now signs in the heaven..

Jesus foretold real events.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 482515



Its cool isnt it. This is the first year since the earth was created that it has seen war, earthquakes, a sun-eclipse and a meteor shower. It goes to show you the crazy times we live in. Just amazing.
GraftedPromise U$ofA
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08/11/2008 10:41 AM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
goodnews
Anonymous Coward
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08/11/2008 10:47 AM
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goodnews
 Quoting: GraftedPromise U$ofA 482860


I wonder how out of the question it would be for NASA to have scanned the entire length of the Perseid stream, right around the solar system, spotted a 'big one', and worked out it was going to hit the Eastern seaboard of the USA tomorrow?

I wonder?

130000 refugees on the road in the Phillipines.

Strife in Georgia.

I wonder?
GraftedPromise U$ofA
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08/11/2008 11:24 AM
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We don't have long to wait to see what comes.
Anonymous Coward
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08/11/2008 11:59 AM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
I saw 5 last night in the short time I took... plus 3 random ones in the past two weeks... I watch the Perseids every year!
Anonymous Coward
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08/11/2008 12:02 PM
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goodnews


I wonder how out of the question it would be for NASA to have scanned the entire length of the Perseid stream, right around the solar system, spotted a 'big one', and worked out it was going to hit the Eastern seaboard of the USA tomorrow?

I wonder?

130000 refugees on the road in the Phillipines.

Strife in Georgia.

I wonder?
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 482886

rant 5a rant
Babe in a Bunker

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08/11/2008 12:25 PM
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Don't you mean the third portent of the coming Apocalypse?
Well it seems so real I can see it
And it seems so real I can feel it
And it seems so real I can taste it
And it seems so real I can hear it
So why can't I touch it?
So why can't I touch it?


Twatter: [link to twitter.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
Perseid Meteor Shower 2008

Once every year, the Perseid meteor shower returns. Each year, the Perseids are an excellent meteor shower, and are possibly the most popular meteor shower. They are often very fast and bright, and can sometimes leave fiery trails in the sky. The Perseids are called so because of their apparent origin, called the radiant, in Perseus. Each meteor you see is actually a piece of the comet Swift-Tuttle. This comet leaves behind a trail of dust and debris every time it orbits the sun, thus refreshing the source of the Perseid meteor shower. This year's Perseid meteor shower will be at its most active peak on the morning of Tuesday, August 12th, 2008.

The Perseids can be viewed any time between August 8th and 14th, however, since their peak is so broad. A good time to start viewing them would be Monday night (8-11-08) into Tuesday morning (8-12-08). Look to the North and Northeast to see the most meteors. Unfortunately, the waxing gibbous moon will be up for this event, which will wash out all but the brightest meteors. The moon will set at 2 AM, allowing observers an uninhibited view of the Perseids if they're willing or able to stay up that late! This is the best time to view meteor showers, as the Earth is rotating into the shower in the predawn hours. This will increase the meteor rate considerably. With good, dark skies (after the moon sets), expect up to 100 meteors per hour. Of course, light pollution and moonlight may decrease your observed meteor count.


 [link to www.visualastronomy.com] 

Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2008 12:52 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
This WEBSITE will help you get the most out of your METEOR viewing experience:


 [link to www.skyandtelescope.com] 

Anonymous Coward
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08/11/2008 12:53 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
The meteors just appear to be coming from the direction of the Perseus constellation. They go streaking across the sky in all directions; sometimes a fair distance. Don't just gaze at Perseus. Try to find an area that has a wide view of the sky. I have seen several bright meteors in the morning for about a week now. The maximum number is supposed to be on the 12th. You should be able to see some more for several days after the maximum.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
An Animation of the PERSEID METEOR SHOWER:


 [link to shadowandsubstance.com] 

czygyny

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08/11/2008 01:40 PM
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Watching a good meteor shower is just one of those things a person should do at least once in their lives.

I sat out for the Leonids in November a couple of years ago, and I saw more than 200 meteors in the few hours I watched. Most of them cast shadows on the ground, and were coming down everywhere.

Some years are better than others, and some displays last only a short time. Sometime back there was a rare display of green meteors that could be seen from California, faithful sky-gazers saw an amazing display of the rare colors that only lasted a half an hour, or so.
Kletos, Eklektos & Pistos
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
I was out last night, 1 am - 3 am, and saw about 1 "falling star" every 2 minutes, and it is not even peak viewing yet.

11th-14th supposed high activity viewing, so I am heading out again tonight.

Lake Michigan beach, far from city lights worked VERY well for me! :) Nothing but sky and softly lulling waves hitting the beach.

Have fun skywatching! It is truly magical.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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bump
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
Easily Viewed Perseid Meteor Shower to Peak Aug. 12

August 7, 2008 — The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak during the early morning hours of Aug. 12, possibly producing as many as 60 visible meteors per hour during the darkest hours of the night.

This year's shower will be less than ideal earlier in the evening, though, because of a late-setting waxing gibbous moon, said University of Virginia astronomer Ed Murphy. The best viewing of the streaks of light in all their glory will occur between about 1:30 a.m. to 6 a.m., after the moon has set and before the sun rises, he said.

The Perseid shower occurs every August because the Earth, at that point in its orbit around the sun, passes through debris fragments left in the wake of the comet Swift-Tuttle.

"A comet is basically an icy dirt ball," Murphy said. "As Comet Swift-Tuttle passes closest to the sun during its 133-year elliptical orbit, it melts a bit, leaving a long trail, that appears as a tail, of water vapor and carbon monoxide and rocks and dust. The Earth passes through this tail every August and its atmosphere is bombarded by the dust cloud."

Ed Murphy on Perseid
The meteors that appear during the shower are comet debris, typically about the size of a grain of sand. But they are traveling at 133,000 miles per hour – 37 miles per second – when they hit our atmosphere, Murphy said. "The small meteor trail we see in the sky is caused by the sand grain compressing and superheating the air around it. Occasionally, a piece of debris that is bigger than a pea will create a spectacular streak across the sky."

Because Swift-Tuttle, like all comets, is made up mostly of ice, the solid debris is almost always very small, rarely big enough to reach the Earth's surface before burning up. But asteroids, which are made up of rocks or metals, can be very large and do occasionally impact the planet. Murphy pointed out that that is an entirely different and unrelated event to a meteor shower.

Murphy said the best way to view the shower is to go outside, ideally in a location that is away from the glow of city lights, and lie on a blanket or sleeping bag. Face the northeast and look halfway up the sky. "Under clear, dark skies you should be able to see about one meteor per minute," he said. Telescopes and binoculars are not needed, and in fact would hinder the wide-angle view needed to appreciate the beautiful show.

The best night, provided there is no cloud cover, will be Aug. 12, but meteors will be visible, though less prolific, a few days before and after the peak.

"The Perseid shower is the most easily viewed meteor show each year," Murphy said, "because it occurs during the summer when it is comfortable to be out for several hours at night."

Other showers occur during cold months, the Leonids in November and the Geminids in December. Meteor showers are named for the constellations that they appear to emanate from at the time the Earth intersects a comet trail.

— By Fariss Samarrai
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/11/2008 04:53 PM
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PaaatRiot101
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08/11/2008 05:40 PM
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Re: The 2008 Perseid Meteor Shower
WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I'm in the boonies,
I'm gonna see 40 -60 per hour!!!!!!!!!!
Hope Russia or China don't use the cover to slip in a missile!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kidding kinda
I mean it is GLP.
Really am looking forward to viewing, unfortunately the cloud cover that Ken Cook says isn't here is quite thick.
Crossing fingers for clearing.
Maybe get to try out binocular camera tonight ?
Peace out.
Just though I would put in a search and move the thread up.

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