August 6, 2010
Posted: 03:24 AM ET
Miss the brilliant colors of the Northern Lights this week? It’s not too late to catch the next bright astronomical display. Mark your calendar for the Perseid Meteor Shower on August 12th & 13th. Astronomers expect this to be a spectacular event with a peak display of 80 meteors per hour.
If the weather is clear, look to view Perseids in the northeastern sky in an open field.
Here is more from NASA Scientist Dr. Tony Daly from SpaceDaily.com:
“The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years the huge comet swings through the inner solar system and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel.
When Earth passes through the debris, specks of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. These meteors are called Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus.
Swift-Tuttle's debris zone is so wide, Earth spends weeks inside it. Indeed, we are in the outskirts now, and sky watchers are already reporting a trickle of late-night Perseids. The trickle could turn into a torrent between August 11th and 13th when Earth passes through the heart of the debris trail.
2010 is a good year for Perseids because the Moon won't be up during the midnight-to-dawn hours of greatest activity. Lunar glare can wipe out a good meteor shower, but that won't be the case this time.”
An iReport of the Northern Lights: http://us.cnn.com/2010/IREPORT/08/04/northern.lights.irpt/
Enjoy the show!
Meteorologist Bonnie Schneider
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