The Perseid rates started to riselast week! This chart will be a fun
way to see what worldwide observers are seeing in real time hour by
. The best location is one
devoid of any nearby light pollution, so if you are observing at home
find the spot against a shielding wall without direct streetlights,
motion sensor lights, etc. Mojo and I will be in Lockwood Valley
Thursday night till dawn Friday morning, and at our annual "Stars Over
Yosemite" star parties Friday and Saturday nights. Free with entrance
to the park,every weekend excepting full moon thru Labor Day, a
different astronomy club's members hosts the weekend events.
Here are some tips and times. I cut out the pertinent few sentences, but
the writeup is very good and written by a personal friend, Bob Lundsford
who Mojo and I have worked with on NASA Meteor Counting Campaigns since
1998! Excellent graphics, too!
* "Every year, the dust particles from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle
comet pass the Earth orbit and burn in our atmosphere (about 70
miles / 110km above us) from mid-July to the end of August. When the
dust and ice hits our atmosphere at around 37 miles / second
(59km/s) they disintegrate high up in the atmosphere after making a
brilliant flash of light. Most of these particles are the size of
sand grains, while a few are as big as peas.
* *Maximum activity is predicted to occur on the morning of August
12^th *, when rates in excess of *1 per minute* may be seen from
dark sky sites. On the morning of maximum the waxing gibbous moon
will set between midnight and 0100 local daylight time as seen from
mid-northern latitudes. This will free up the prime observing hours
from interfering moonlight.
* As the night progresses the Perseid activity will slowly rise as the
radiant gains altitude in the northeastern sky. Not until after
midnight will the Perseid radiant gain sufficient altitude to
produce pleasing results. Anytime from moonset to dawn will be the
best time to see the most activity. Perseid meteors will appear in
every portion of the sky. I would suggest facing toward the
direction with the flattest horizon, devoid of any trees or hills
that may block you view of the meteors. If all directions are
favorable, then face toward the darkest portion of the sky, opposite
any terrestrial lights that may interfere with viewing.
* The best Perseid rates will occur on a 5 night segment centered on
August 12^th . So if August 12^th is cloudy you can still see good
Perseid activity over the weekend. Just be sure to wait until the
moon is low or has set before attempting to observe.
* *The best night for viewing the Perseids will the morning of August
12^th .* This year predictions by Mikhail Maslov and Esko Lyytinen
predict that we will cross a part of the stream which has shifted
closer to the Earth’s orbit by Jupiter. Therefore rates could be up
to twice as high compared to a normal Perseid display. Normal rates
for this shower are usually around 60 meteors per hour as seen from
rural observing sites. *Therefore this year rates could exceed 100
per hour.* Note that meteor activity is notoriously bunched, meaning
that there are periods in which you will see no activity and other
times when you will see several within seconds of each other. The
quoted rates are an average over an hour’s time.
Here is a great collection of locations from KCET blogger (and friend)
San Diego County
Finally, What's Up for August is about planets and Perseids:
Jane Houston Jones
What's Up August? Perseids