13 August 2007

Persied Meteor Shower Peaking

Just in from stargazing on Mt. Ashland tonight. Very cold and clear on the no moon night, we packed in blankets, hats and gloves and sleeping bags. We saw so many shooting stars - including some really long and colorful trails across the sky!

The annual Perseid meteor shower is puting on a great show this year, peaking in mid-August with a display of dozens of shooting stars each hour. The Moon is new on August 12, which means no moonlight, dark skies and plenty of meteors.

The Moon will be out of the way, leaving dark skies for good viewing as Earth plunges through an ancient stream of comet debris. Little bits, most no larger than sand grains, will vaporize in Earth's atmosphere, creating sometimes-dramatic "shooting stars."

The meteors in this shower all appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus. The best times to watch will be late night Aug. 12 through dawn Aug. 13.

The August Perseids are among the strongest of the readily observed annual meteor showers, and at maximum activity nominally yield 90 or 100 meteors per hour.

Observing tips
To see the show, find a comfortable spot with a clear view of the northeast horizon, away from local lights. A dark rural location is best. Lie back on a blanket or lounge chair and scan the entire sky.

Later and during the overnight hours, the shooting stars will be higher in the sky as Perseus rises.

The cosmic rivers of debris have been laid down for millennia by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes through the inner solar system every 130 years. Perseid meteoroids are exceptionally fast, entering Earth's atmosphere at roughly 133,200 mph (60 kilometers per second).


  1. Hi ... interesting to see your iTunes list .. Sigor Ross?

  2. I don't have much by Sigur Rós, but look for their music on the soundtrack to the new documentary “the 11th hour” by Leonardo Dicaprio, Nadia Conners & Leila Conners Petersen (two songs, avalon and flugufrelsarinn). The film is widely released in the US on 24 August. Information about the “11th Hour Action Community” can be found at 11thhouraction.com


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