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Perseids

July 20, 2008

I got an invitation on Facebook to join the Perseids Meteor Shower Event:

…*Since this seems to be confusing people– this isn’t an actual event. You watch the shower on your own, I’m just trying to inform you. You can watch it wherever you are, not just in College Park. Just open your eyes and look up.*

**Best seen:** NIGHT of August 11th to MORNING of August 12th.
**Best time:** between 2 a.m. to dawn on August 12th. This is after the moon sets so the sky will be darker!…

As of this moment, the event (which is still a month away) has 217,480 confirmed guests, 60,074 who might be attending, 79,101 not attending, and 119,106 have not replied. That’s a lot of people for one facebook event! It makes me think of December when I got an invitation to attend Christmas. There were a heckuva lot of people attending that event. haha.

Anyway, the photo affixed to the invitation was a pretty one:

Naturally, it got me looking up photos of the Perseids on Google Images. I thought I’d share a few of the best’ns:

I just noticed that the landscape in two of those is the same–so they were possibly taken by the same photographer?

I live in the English country right now, and the sky can get quite dark at night. These photos have inspired me. Maybe I’ll peel myself out of bed that night…whether or not the sky will be clear is the real question.

***UPDATE*** (Sunday, Aug 10)

I don’t know how it happened that I have had the distinct honor of having a decent amount of hits on this post and of being on the first 2-3 pages of the Google search “Perseids” at times during the past few weeks; perhaps it was because I linked to so many Nasa photos, which made me look more official than I really am. At any rate, because of all the hits, I feel a bit of an obligation to tell my readers how and when to best view the Perseids (now that they’re nearly here).

My dad is an amateur astronomer, and he tends to keep us in the know with these kinds of things. I think it will be easiest to simply copy part of his letter to us chillins. The location is Utah-centric, but it includes links that will calculate for you the sunrise/sunset where you are (I’m in England right now), the rising/setting of the moon (for optimum darkness), and a weather link where you can punch in your location, etc. In other words, you should be able to tailor this to wherever you live..

HOW AND WHEN TO VIEW THE PERSEIDS

Here is your sometimes annual reminder of the most convenient meteor shower of the year (warm summer nights).

This year the moon will interfere with seeing all but the brightest meteors until a few hours before dawn on Monday and Tuesday.

EarthSky provides a link to a calculator that gives, for Salt Lake City, moon set on Monday Aug 11 at 1:17 AM. and on Tuesday Aug 12 at 2:07 AM. It gives astronomical twilight for those days at about 4:50 AM, so your best chance to see many meteors will be Monday between about 1:30 and 5:00 AM and Tuesday between about 2:30 and 5:00 AM. Those of you at a substantially different latitude than Salt Lake may want to enter your own location in the calculator.

NASA points out that the best opportunity to observe a rare but spectacular earth grazer is about 9:00 p.m. Monday evening, just as the earth turns into the debris stream that causes the shower. You may watch for an hour and see only a few, but it should be worth it. NASA also provides a sky map showing where to find Jupiter, the gibbous moon, and the bright red giant star Antares in the southern sky, forming an arc between Sagittarius and Scorpius. This should be a beautiful sight.

The weather prediction for Provo & vicinity on Monday & Tuesday is for partly cloudy skies.

Best wishes,

[Dad]

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. zstitches permalink
    July 21, 2008 4:28 pm

    A few nights ago I dreamed I watched an amazing meteor shower. It kinda made the real thing seem boring by comparison.

  2. lilbooks permalink*
    July 21, 2008 6:16 pm

    I used to have dreams about astronomical events quite regularly. In one, I looked up at the moon, and it was the Earth! (Good plot for a sci-fi novel…nobody steal that one!) I’ve had super novae dreams, meteor shower dreams, what else… well, lots. I’ve also had lots of weather phenomena dreams…but these days those dreams don’t seem so far-fetched in light of some of the disasters of the past few years…

  3. Amelia permalink
    August 14, 2008 4:46 pm

    We’re in So Cal and got up about 2 AM to look from our back yard. Its semi rural here so we ended up seeing 6 in a half hour. These photos are awesome though especially the second one. I’d have flipped out if I saw that!

  4. August 16, 2008 12:08 am

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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