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Author Topic: Perseid & Aquarid Meteor Shower in Early August  (Read 631 times)

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Offline Psk

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Perseid & Aquarid Meteor Shower in Early August
« on: August 04, 2015, 08:14:04 pm »
The Aquarid meteor shower will thin down just as the Perseid meteor shower ramps up. Although far from it's peak yet, you'll see some Perseid meteors mixed in with the Aquarid meteors tonight. Even though many of the meteors will be seen hitting our atmosphere "head on" many of them just get trapped by Earth's gravity, & gradually spiral down into our atmosphere over a few hours or weeks. Also the debris field of these meteors is very wide, where the peak hours or days of the shower is just when the Earth is passing through the densest part of the vast field.

So unlike any other month,you'll see more meteors (falling stars) on most August nights than any other month. How spectacular it is varies a lot from year to year, because we don't pass through the same or densest part every year - The field itself also orbits the sun, which is essentially a trail of small chunks left behind by a comet that passed through.
(see a comet close-up http://unclegadget.com/psk/index.php?topic=26.0 )

Each year, the Perseid meteor shower begins in the first week of August and peaks between August 12 and 13. The Perseids is known for producing the most fireballs of any meteor shower... exceptionally bright meteors that can outshine everything else in the sky, with some years over 100 meteors per hour.  The Perseid parent comet returns to the inner solar system every approximately 130 years. It was discovered 1862 & its last orbit around the sun was in 1992. It is not expected to return until 2126. The comet has probably made hundreds of prior revolutions around the sun. The Perseid meteor shower has been recorded by human civilizations for more than 2,000 years.

The best views will be seen from very dark locations with a low horizon free from obstructions, to the east and south. The meteors will be seen radiating from a region of the sky low on the eastern horizon just around 10pm (eastern USA time), peaking after midnight, moving higher in the sky and farther to the south as the night progresses. By just before local sunrise, the meteors will be seen nearly due south. In the western USA, expect peaks right after dark. In Eastern Europe, expect peaks in the pre-dawn hours. In Asia & Australia, you will observe them too, but it will be daylight there during it's peaks, & the bulk of it will be hitting the northern hemisphere. So for Australians, this will be a minor meteor shower.


Offline Psk

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Re: Perseid & Aquarid Meteor Shower in Early August
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 08:54:36 pm »
Comet Swift Tuttle is the creator of the debris field that causes the Perseid meteor shower.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Swift%E2%80%93Tuttle

Below: Comet Swift Tuttle as seen by astronomers in 1992.

Offline Psk

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Re: Perseid & Aquarid Meteor Shower in Early August
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 09:19:03 pm »
Photos of previous Perseid meteors.

 

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