Thursday, August 11, 2016

It's Perseid Time, Welcome Meteors!

That's why it's cloudy at night. It was last year, the two nights that I got up to watch. This year is supposed to be a great show. I stayed up until 3 am last night and saw mostly clouds and darkness. I just looked at tonight's forecast and, at least for my area, from midnight until 2 or so they're only calling for partial cloudiness. We'll see what we shall see.

During a typical year, viewers in a dark location can expect to see a meteor every minute to every 30 seconds during the peak, Peter Brown, a professor with the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, Ontario, told CBC.

"A lot of those meteors will be pretty bright," he said, adding that this year, "the rates could be up to … a couple every minute, maybe even three a minute" if you're camping or at the cottage, away from city lights. Dark skies are key to seeing lots of meteors."

This year's outburst is caused by the influence of Jupiter's and Saturn's orbits on the Swift-Tuttle debris, Brown said. The last such outburst occurred in 2009 when the Perseids produced about double the number of meteors.


As Cooke remarked to NASA, that means "the meteors you'll see this year are from comet flybys that occurred hundreds if not thousands of years ago. ... And they've traveled billions of miles before their kamikaze run into Earth's atmosphere."

And we are grateful to them for making the journey, more grateful if we can see them.

If I didn't have enough labels already, this would be "Posts Gratefully Not About Trump." 

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