HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/2/13)—Independence Day celebrations are long gone for 2013, but mother nature has a phenomenal interstellar “fireworks” display up her sleeve that has been wowing audiences all over the world for thousands of years: the Perseid meteor shower.
Generally regarded by both seasoned astronomers and recreational stargazers as the “best” annual meteor shower visible from the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower not only produces some of the brightest meteors of the year, but it also correlates with the tail end of the Delta Aquarid shower that peaks in late July and continues into early August.
What’s more, those trying to fit in a viewing of the Perseids will have plenty of opportunities to squeeze in a little “time off the clock.” In fact, the 2013 Perseids meteor shower can be viewed during the post-midnight/pre-dawn hours of early August for nearly two full weeks, with their peak production of 50-100 visible meteors per hour taking place on the late evenings/early mornings of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.
As EarthSky.org explains of the immense meteor shower:
The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere…The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains. Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon. Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show.
To maximize your viewing experience of the Perseids, however, there are a few guidelines that should be followed:
• First and foremost, you’ll want to locate an open and public vantage point that is as far removed from light pollution as is possible (this includes everything from glowing city lights to the lights of a car or nearby security light). Fortunately, Hopkins County has plenty of rural areas that are perfect for such an occasion.
• Secondly, it’s important to remember that watching for meteors is really all about getting out and enjoying the fruits of nature. While the Perseid shower is legendary because of the powerful and dependable displays it can produce, it would take a lot of patience to catch each and every one of the 50-100 meteors the annual shower can create.
• Third, don’t forget to make yourself comfortable while gazing at the night sky. Bring a chair or seat, check the weather, and dress appropriately for the climate.
• Finally, make sure you’re looking for meteors at the right time. To reiterate, the Perseids will be peaking during the late evening/pre-dawn hours of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.
To learn more about the Perseid meteor shower, click here.
Wondering what the shower might actually look like? Check out a stunning time-lapse film of the 2010 Perseid meteor shower by clicking the video player attached below this article.
Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo by Jeff Harp
Information provided by EarthSky.org