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Perseid Outburst Tonight

from SETI

Perseid Meteor Shower This Week May Develop Outburst – August 11th and 12th

This Thursday and Friday, there will be one of the best annual meteor showers you and your family can watch – the Perseids.    And some experts are even predicting that there might be a meteor “outburst” this year – where the number of shooting stars increases beyond the usual rates.

This is a complicated year for watching the Perseid meteor shower, because the evening sky has a roughly half-lit-up moon in it, making it more difficult to catch the faint “shooting stars.”  So if you can wait until the Moon sets (between midnight and 1 am), you should have better viewing in the pre-dawn darkness.   That’s great advice for people on vacation or camping trips (and for insomniacs,) but probably not useful for those who have to get up for work! (If you are watching before midnight, one suggestion is to get into a moon shadow – a place where something blocks your view of the Moon and it’s easier to scan the sky.)

The best night is the evening of Thursday, Aug. 11 and morning of Friday, Aug. 12th, although there could be significantly more meteors in the sky on the night before and the night after, too.  Meteors or “shooting stars” (which have nothing to do with stars) are pieces of cosmic dust and dirt hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and making a flash of light as they burn up.  These flashes could happen anywhere in the sky, so it’s best to view the shower from a dark, wide-open place.  See the list at the end for viewing suggestions.

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Posted on August 11, 2016 by Editor

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