Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Perseid Meteor Shower Imminent

Posted by Kirk
Get ready for a good show Twin Cities. The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight! You can start watching for shooting stars (meteors) after sunset tonight, Tuesday, August 11th. The show will last all night but the expected peak of activity is in a window of time between 0800-0900 GMT (3:00-4:00 a.m. CDT) on the 12th. Set your alarm clocks for that one! I know it is early but so it goes. The reason for the window is that at that time, the Earth is expected to pass through the filament of dust from comet Swift-Tuttle. Swift-Tuttle is the comet who's dust trail produces the Perseid meteor shower.

There is speculation that this year's show will be particularly good owing to a denser than normal trail of comet debris. Some are predicting rates peaking at 200 meteors per hour which is a fair clip. Of course, if you live in the city you will see far less and the moon will be up at that time with a 61% illumination and about 40° away from the constellation Perseus. Those people outside of the cities will likely see many more meteors.

On a positive note, the radar looks good so far in terms of cloud cover.