Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 54: Showering meteors

Joshua Tree National Park, Reed Saxon, Associated Press

The Perseids is a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it passed by the Sun. Most of the dust in the cloud today is approximately a thousand years old. -from wikipedia

So, I am a little late on this since yesterday morning was the best time to view the Perseids. But, wikipedia also says you might be able to see some streams across the night sky until the 14th.

Other bits of note from wikipedia:
-The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the Far East.
-During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour.

If you missed them this year mark your calendar for next year (and a flight to the west where the viewing is the best).

The low-down on the Perseid meteor shower by NASA.

No comments: