Perseid Meteor ShowerAugust 11th, 2012 at 1:44 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks this morning and Sunday night and we’ve already had some great reports. If you see a bright meteor (fireball), you can log a report at the website of the American Meteor Society. Here’s a satellite loop (IR loop so you can see both day and night). It’s clear from Kent Co. west as I type this around 1 AM. The clearing line will very slowly progress to the east overnight. The Perseids, usually the best meteor shower of the year, are the debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. See the short video here and the first part of this short video. Observers have been seeing up to 75 meteors an hour (you won’t see that many, but it’ll still be pretty good). Here’s some images of meteors taken from around the world. Live meteor data here and you can actually here meteors here. While you could see a meteor (sometimes called a “shooting star”) anywhere in the sky, the best place to look is toward the constellation Perseus in the high northeast sky. You could see a meteor anytime after it gets dark, but the best time will be late tonight, between 2 AM and dawn. This evening, the Veen Observatory (pictured here) will be open for sky viewing from 9 PM to 11:30 PM. The giant telescopes will feature deep sky objects such as galaxies, star clusters and nebulas. The Observatory is on Kissing Rock Road. Here’s a map showing the location of the Observatory. The Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association is also hosting a Perseid Meteor Watch at the Cascade Township Park from 11.30pm – 5.00am. Here’s directions to the park. Hundreds of people are expected, so it should be quite a party! Only the naked eye is required to view meteors, and members of the Astronomical Association will be on hand to explain what is going on and where to look for them. They will also provide several telescopes for viewing of Jupiter and the crescent moon during predawn hours. Bring a blanket or chairs, a jacket (it’ll be down around 60 degrees) and some snacks. There is a nominal charge for the Veen Observatory to maintain the building and telescopes. The Perseid Meteor Watch is free. The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society is also holding a Perseid Meteor Watch at the Kalamazoo Nature Center starting at 8:30 PM. Here’s directions to the Nature Center. If you know of any other Perseid Watches tonight, please leave a comment and let us know about it. You can also see a grouping of the crescent moon, Venus, Jupiter and the reddish star Aldebaran (a giant sun with a diameter more than 44 times the diameter of our sun) in the early morning sky. Here’s a picture of the star/moon groupings in the morning and evening sky. Here’s this week’s flyovers of the International Space Station. Finally, check out this picture of the Northern Lights and noctilucent clouds (in the distance) from up by Hudson Bay.