Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Perseids Meteor Shower at Peak

"Observing the Perseids"
Meteor Showers Online

"For a short summary of this meteor shower, click here

"This is the most famous of all meteor showers. It never fails to provide an impressive display and, due to its summertime appearance, it tends to provide the majority of meteors seen by non-astronomy enthusiasts.

"This meteor shower gets the name 'Perseids' because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus. An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Perseid meteors as early as July 23, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next three weeks, there is a slow build-up. It is possible to spot five Perseids per hour at the beginning of August and perhaps 15 per hour by August 10. The Perseids rapidly increase to a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour by the night of August 12/13...."

There's a sky map for people in the northern hemisphere, and another for people in the southern hemisphere. After that, the page gives a history of the Perseid shower - or, rather, a history of records of the shower for the last thousand years, give or take.

Then there's a bit about orbits calculated for the Perseids, that would probably be more interesting to serious astronomers than to most folks.

All in all, a pretty good resource for learning about the Perseids.

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