Perseids Meteor Shower Celestial Show

Science & Math | | July 29, 2007 at 06:33

perseid-1.jpgThe Perseids (Meteor Shower) happen every year in August; this year the height of the show is Aug 12-13, luckily for excellent viewing, with a new moon. Peak viewing moment was supposed to be 11pm Sunday. The best viewing is in the desert where there is low light pollution to cloud the sight as well as very low humidity to reduce distortion in the atmosphere. Desert is something we certainly have plenty of in Las Vegas.

Caution: You have to drive very far from Vegas to get away from the light pollution. The display was disappointing last night from Bonnie Springs and the road to Pahrump. For best viewing, I think you should go north of the city, or east – and count on driving quite a few miles. The Sawmill Trailhead favored by the Astronomy Club is undoubtably the tried-and true destination.

perseid1.jpgWhat are meteor showers? By definition they are an increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year.
Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers. As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet’s orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.
Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.” (The preceding info is from stardate.org.)

Related Star Gazing Party w/ Astronomical Society, Las Vegas Astronomical Society

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