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Perseid Meteor Shower (Peaks August 12)

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posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 04:09 PM
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Robert Lunsford-Meteorobs

Meteor activity kicks into high gear in August as seen from the northernhemisphere. The main reason for all this activity is the Perseid shower thatpeaks on August 12. This shower is active most of the month and remainsabove the level of the sporadic background for a week centered on August 12.The sporadic activity is also increasing as seen from the northernhemisphere and is now nearly double the rates from just three months ago. Asseen from south of the equator, meteor rates are still decent but fallingrapidly. The sporadic rates seen at the beginning of the month will be twiceas much as those seen during the last days of the month. The Perseid radiantdoes not rise high into the sky as seen in the southern hemisphere so ratesfrom this shower are greatly reduced when compared to the northernhemisphere. During this period the moon reaches its full phase on Thursday August 6th.This weekend and early next week there is a window of opportunity to viewthe meteor activity during the dark period between moonset and dawn. This isespecially true for observers viewing from the northern hemisphere as themoon currently lies well south of the ecliptic. As Wednesday arrives the fullmoon is in the sky nearly the entire night. The estimated total hourly ratesfor evening observers this week is near four no matter your location. Formorning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near twentyseven for those located in the mid-northern hemisphere (45 N) and twentyfive for those viewing from the mid-southern hemisphere (45 S). Locationsbetween these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.These rates assume that you are watching from rural areas away from allsources of light pollution. The actual rates will also depend on factorssuch as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions,alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Evening rates arereduced due to moonlight. The radiant positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturdaynight/Sunday morning August 1/2. These positions do not change greatly dayto day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Moststar atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will providemaps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find outexactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere orcomputer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any timeof night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seenwhen it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south alongthe meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteoractivity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwardsfrom the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that theradiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you toeasily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a showermember) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is notseen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The positions beloware listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestiallongitude). The positions listed first are located further west thereforeare accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the listrise later in the night.




posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 04:23 PM
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My birthdate is Aug 13th. I've always been most happy with the fireworks show the universe throws for me each year...




posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 11:45 AM
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Welcome to ATS Rob.

For those of you who don't know, Robert Lunsford is one of the most knowledgeable meteor observers on the face of the planet.

Great to have you here Rob!




posted on Aug, 1 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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I did not know that. Welcome Rod!
Thanks for sharing that with us



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