The Perseids are Coming!

The annual Perseid meteor shower is coming our way this week. Anyone who lives in the Northern Hemisphere may be in for a good old-fashioned sky show, just by looking up.

The Perseids are debris from a wandering comet that appear as shooting stars each August. (Records of this light show go back to 36 A.D., though the Swift-Tuttle Comet was discovered much later.) They often provide one of the best shows of the year, if the skies are clear and the moon is not full.

This year, they should be best on Wednesday, August 12, before dawn and after sunset. Tuesday night before 11 p.m. is another good time to look for shooting stars because the moon won’t rise until 11.

You won’t need any special equipment to see the Perseids. The naked eye is actually best. Just be sure to give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark. And hope for a good show!

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle offers more information about the Perseids, along with some good viewing tips and a sky map.

600px-Meteor_burst
Meteor Burst Photo by NASA Ames Research Center/S. Molau & P. Jenniskens
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One Response to The Perseids are Coming!

  1. Anyone see anything last night? We went outside on our deck about 10:30. We saw occasional activity that looked like faint sparklers, and we saw a few shooting stars, including a really good one that streaked all the way across the sky.

    After 11 it clouded up and we couldn’t see much more.

    We’ll try again after sunset tonight. The mere act of stargazing never ceases to cause wonder, and there was a good discussion about the cosmos among our little group watching.

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