Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Hey Space Placers!

Tonight is the predicted peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower. It looks like DMV will be clouded out BUT you can LISTEN for them on the Internet via space radar  - a favorite activity of mine - anytime up until the shower ends sometime after August 13. This includes day time hours as well.

NASA will have a live Internet chat at 11 p.m. EDT and streaming (weather permitting) at 9:30 p.m. EDT so you can  VIEW them via NASA.

The almost Full Moon is in the sky all night and will dampen this year’s  Perseid Meteor Shower but the brighter meteors will still be visible. Each year during August the cometary debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle intersects the Earth and produces a wonderful display of falling or shooting stars - meteors. These bits of comet dust, about the size of a grain of sand, hit our atmosphere at 140,000 miles per hour! 

At a dark sky site with no Moon present one can count on seeing up to a 100 meteors an hour. This year the bright and almost Full Moon will reduce the number to a predicted 30-40 per hour. These will be bright meteors and the Perseids produce a lot of fireballs - meteors that are brighter than Venus. NASA’s meteor monitoring stations have reported a number of bright Perseid fireballs in the past few days. 

Start watching the sky at 11 p.m. local time and especially the hours before dawn to look for them. The best place to watch the Perseids is somewhere free of city lights that offers a clear view of the whole sky. Being comfortable is key to watching the shower.

I will be at Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park on August 12, 9 p.m. EDT, giving my next “Let’s Talk About Space at Shenandoah National Park” presentation on the Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater. Afterwards if it is clear we will meet at Big Meadows to watch the Perseids.

Here’s to clear skies! Hope to see you at Big Meadows!

Sky Guy Back in VA

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