Get ready for the big show

This weekend is one of the biggest events of the amateur astronomers year as the Perseid Meteor Shower peaks.  We’re waking our kids up at 4 am Monday morning so they can see it. They are so excited.

I’ve posted on resources we use for our stargazing before, and this post is very informative with dark sky viewing spots for all 50 states.  We’re actually just going to be doing backyard stargazing and not try to drive to a darker spot. We have pretty good visibility here, and the Perseids shower is the best one for urban or suburban viewing.

Fun things with the column this week. First, since it’s science geekery and not political geekery, it’s not in the usual space. Second, I busted my butt getting the use of this amazing picture, and my editor decided not to use it. I’m pretty sure that means I’m a real journalist now.  Take that, Durbin!

Steven Coates
This is taken from Lake Anasagunticook in Canton, Maine. Check out http://coatesastrophotography.com/ for more amazing images.

From today’s column:

The Perseid Meteor Shower, a favorite of amateur astronomers, peaks on August 12th and 13th this year. The best viewing time for North America will be the pre-dawn hours of August 12th when the Constellation Perseus is high in the sky.
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The peak of the summer meteor shower season, the Perseid shower produce the most meteors of the year. Perseids are named because they seem to appear from the Perseus Constellation. The meteors are actually debris from the Swift-Tuttle Comet. It appears annually from about mid-July to late August.

The popular opinion that the Perseids are also the most spectacular meteor shower has been confirmed by NASA.

According to Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteroid Environment Office, the Perseid meteor shower “produces more fireballs than any other.” Fireballs are meteors that are brighter than the planet Venus.

Read the rest at The Washington Times Communities Pages

For more resources on making the world a better place for stargazers, check out The International Dark-Sky Association.

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