HOLY FIREBALLS! THE PERSEIDS METEOR SHOWER REACHES A STRONG MAXIMUM ON AUGUST 11-12 this year, although it has been active since July 13 and extend to August 26, 2018.
A Space.com article “Perseid Meteor Shower 2018: When, Where & How to See It” by Sarah Lewin provides the particulars for interested sky and star-gazers. It references NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, who is of the opinion that the peak night will include both evenings, August 11-12 and August 12-13, with the latter night predicted to be best by Cooke.
Contributing to the forecast of a spectacular show is the moon’s phase, the article explains. Near new moon, it will be a crescent only and will set before the show gets started at midnight. Depending on local sunset time, they might be seen as early as 10pm and as late as the pre-dawn hours.
“The Perseids are rich in fireballs, so the show should be even better” it gushes.
Best to find an area of “dark sky” with the least nearby polluting earth light as possible, lay down in an open spot from which the northeastern sky can be seen, and be patient. Don’t forget to apply bug spray.
By the way, if you plan to travel to a well-known dark-sky area, be prepared for a crowd. The event may or may not create a lot of enthusiasm, which can be disappointing if it interferes with viewing. On my home turf, the east coast of Lake Michigan, astronomical shows can lead to traffic jams on the small roads and access drives to public areas, like state parks. Drivers will leave headlights on, unaware of the effect on viewing. Remember to be thoughtful and courteous if you drive to a park.
Dark sky parks advise bringing flashlights covered with red or brown paper bag to preserve sensitivity to faint light. The darksky.org webpage for the 2015 Perseid shower explains the concept of the radiant, “a point on the sky to which the tracks of the Perseid meteors all seem to trace back”.
For more details read the entire Space.com article. AND check the local forecast to determine if you can count on a clear sky.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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