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Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the then-gets-suddenly-sleepy dept.

Space 31

oxide7 writes "August's Perseid meteor shower has historically been providing the best opportunity for enthusiasts to catch meteor shows, but this year the Internet will let casual observers enjoy the show live online. The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust — most more than 1,000 years old — burn up in the Earth's atmosphere."

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We've just got (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37076808)

a regular shower (rain, a little hail) and some thunder.

And the forecast is for mostly cloudy, so I don't think I will be seeing any meteors

Re:We've just got (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37076984)

a regular shower (rain, a little hail) and some thunder.

And the forecast is for mostly cloudy, so I don't think I will be seeing any meteors

The societal forecast is niggers, spics, and fucking camel jockeys reproducing faster than everyone else.

Re:We've just got (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077686)

That's more exciting than what I could see. One moon, two TV towers, and an airplane heading west probably at 30K feet or so.

Re:We've just got (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077876)

Yeah that never seems to fail, does it? Where I'm at we are getting back to back thunderboomers and now I know why. Every time there is something cool going on in the sky it might as well carry fine print that says "Except for those in the south, who will be getting rain, heavy cloud cover, anything to make sure you don't see squat".

I think the last cool sky show I got to see was Halley's comet, everything since has been really great views of cloud cover.

Re:We've just got (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37082298)

nice that you've got a shower. Use it, than brush your teeth and go to sleep.

Moon (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37076864)

The moon is going to be out and high in the sky tonight, drowning out most of the meteors. The best showers are when there's no moon out. This one is probably going to be pretty boring because of it, don't expect much.

Perseids stick around a few weeks (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 3 years ago | (#37076894)

While the best viewing would normally have been tonight or a few days around it, the Perseids hang around for a while, and you may be able to see occasional meteors for a while. I saw one just by chance last night, in spite of the moon, streetlights, the marine-layer haze in the Bay Area. You'll need more patience in a week, but the moon won't be as much of a problem.

What's more frustrating has been not knowing if the auroras from the recent solar flares would be visible down here (which is very rare), and it's been cloudy enough near the horizon at night that I probably couldn't tell anyway. (There was some green glow in the distance the other night, but then it turned in to yellow glow, and red, and green again, so it probably wasn't auroras :-)

Re:Perseids stick around a few weeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077418)

By the time the moon isn't an issue, it's going to be far enough off-peak that you'll be as (or more) likely to see a non-perseid than a perseid. Either a random, non-show meteor, or something related to the many other minor showers going on right now.

As far as auroras go, no. If you look at the kp-index map [noaa.gov] , you need a hella powerful (> 9 kp index) geomagnetic storm to see anything down there. The most recent big storm got up to 7 or 8 IIRC, and it only did that while it was still bright on this side of the planet. You can sign up for space weather alerts [noaa.gov] from NOAA.

Re:Perseids stick around a few weeks (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#37079482)

The best dates were 9th and 10th August after 3am when there was no moon. I watched for a couple of hours and have seen around 10-20 Perseids. Two of them were very very bright and many also left a smoke trail :-) Not the "1/minute" rate but hey!

Re:Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37079826)

The missus & I saw a couple on on the night of the new moon for the peak of the Alpha Capricornids & Delta Aquariids on July 30th. We saw 2 per hour, not bad for hazy light polluted Chicago.\
Some good info on meteor showers @ : http://www.amsmeteors.org/

Good news everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37076870)

After millennia of technological and social development, humanity has finally reached the point where it can broadcast one of the most magnificent spectacles of nature to all, in real itme, to all people! Just in time for a full moon!

Southern Hemisphere (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37076978)

Question to the knowledgeable: Is there any chance at all of seeing anything from here [google.co.nz] in New Zealand?

Re:Southern Hemisphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077112)

From precisely that location, I'd be more focused on fast-moving vehicles at ground level than what's going on in the sky.

Re:Southern Hemisphere (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077774)

Har-dee-har-har! :)
It's cloudier than a very cloudy thing anyway, so I'm not going to see anything tonight.

Re:Southern Hemisphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077572)

Question to the knowledgeable: Is there any chance at all of seeing anything from here [google.co.nz] in New Zealand?

I spent some time in NZ on the first LOTRs movie and I think you have a fair chance of seeing Peter jackson walking around bare foot. Other than that I wouldn't hold my breath. Also full moons tend to occur down there each Saturday night. Just hang outside the local pub and I'm sure you'll see one or even two or more.

Listen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077022)

You many not be able to watch it because of the full moon but you could always listen to it here-
http://topaz.streamguys.tv/~spaceweather/ [streamguys.tv]

Absolutely beautiful, moon be damned (1)

Mabbo (1337229) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077160)

Even with the moon full, I was sitting in a hot tub outside tonight, staring up at the stars, and saw a ton of them, bright and easily visible.

I saw a strange one years ago (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077210)

I was parked in an empty field in North Dallas at about 4 AM and a large one came in from the north. As it traversed to the South just to the East of my location it broke up into several fragments that began to rotate about one another, it came to a stop and the fragments continued to 'orbit' one another for brief period before the light faded.

I have seen plenty of meteorites break up but I have never heard of this type of thing before. Has anyone an explanation for this phenomena?

Re:I saw a strange one years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077216)

Marijuana

Re:I saw a strange one years ago (2)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077250)

Wow, 3 minutes for a drug reference to pop up.

And they say pot makes you slow.

Re:I saw a strange one years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37078432)

Wow, 3 minutes for a drug reference to pop up. And they say pot makes you slow.

Well, no-one said the AC him/herself was a pothead.

Besides which, maybe they picked up on your username- I don't know if that's a reference to your real name, or to marijuana?!

Re:I saw a strange one years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077300)

Orbiting is completely infeasible (as I'm sure you know). My guess would be either good ol' perceptual wierdness (possibly (as per sibling post) but not necessarily related to drugs ;)), or that the meteor was in fact spinning more-or-less along its direction of travel, and you were seeing jets of incandescent air kicked off by assymetry on the front, and as it rotates the direction of those jets spins with it.

I've never seen anything like that, but that's the best explanation I have...

Re:I saw a strange one years ago (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077564)

When I was about 4 I saw something out the window that seemed to come down from the sky, hover for a bit while spinning in a spiral sort of fashion, then took off again. I seem to remember playing outside the night before watching the neighbors set off fireworks, and although I didn't connect it at the time that was probably it - an errant firework flew by the window and my imagination filled in the rest. The man in a black suit who spoke to me the next day explained that it was some swamp gas caught in a temperature inversion causing the moon to reflect into the window, but I think fireworks is more likely ;)

It wasn't 4th of July when you saw your unidentified phenomena was it?

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Why is it called a 'shower'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077472)

In my 50-something years on the planet I have never observed more meteors during Perseid than at any other time. In total, I have seen about 3 meteors and I am outside a lot!

Re:Why is it called a 'shower'? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077512)

Strange,x look up on any given night where its dark, you should see them fairly frequently.

Re:Why is it called a 'shower'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37078566)

In my 50-something years on the planet I have never observed more meteors during Perseid than at any other time. In total, I have seen about 3 meteors and I am outside a lot!

Well then, I do have to say that I feel somewhat sorry for you. I was in the mountains near Libby, Montana one year when the Aquarids were peaking. More like a snowstorm across the sky at times, but made of streaks of light. Too many to count, by far.

Get out of the light pollution, you will be astonished by what the night sky really looks like- no picture I've seen comes close to viewing it in person.

Oh yeah! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37077616)

Well, i peaked your mom tonight too. And the Internet let casual observers enjoy the show live online.

Yawn...

"Most" more than 1Ka? How about *all* far older. (1)

dhirsch226 (575367) | more than 3 years ago | (#37077694)

Is somebody claiming that some of the cometary material is less than 1Ka (kilo-annum) old? I doubt that any of that material is younger than 3Ga [sciencedaily.com] , and probably older than 5Ga. Perhaps they mean that the material was mostly dislodged from the comet over 1000 years ago. Fine, but that's not the age of the material, which is generally taken to mean the age at which the material came to be in its present state (vs. location).

Why always the same time of the year? (1)

tendays (890391) | more than 3 years ago | (#37080378)

I'm wondering something: How come this happens always at the same time of the year? That cloud of debris can't just sit still (relative to the sun), doesn't it rotate around, or fall into, the sun, as years pass by? That should make the phenomenon happen at a different time each year... From my understanding, ignoring gravity due to Earth and other planets, something sitting motionless at this distance of the sun would fall into the sun in a matter of months? Unless there's a huge trail going straight away from the sun getting slowly eaten like a spaghetti, that somehow isn't disturbed by other planets, that gets crossed by the Earth once a year. *confused*

Was a good peak but full moon didn't help (1)

desertengineer (1373803) | more than 3 years ago | (#37080842)

Observers are reporting a brief but intense peak between 10:00 and 15:00 UTC. Notable fireballs were seen. Here in the midwest, many locations were overcast. My radar scatter receiver recorded at least one large event every minute or so during that time, supporting other observations. There's always the Draconids in October and the Leonids in November. I think the 1,000 year old comment was either mis-quoted or misunderstood. Essentially the leftovers from the formation of the solar system, cometary material should match the estimated age of meteorites (oldest about 4.5 billion years old). But of course, how do you define "how old" something like this is? Some researchers have been able to estimate the individual orbits (or streams) that we're passing through. That may have been the source of the 1,000 year quote - e.g. this particular stream was from a Swift-Tuttle pass 1,000 years ago. Regardless, it remains the most predictable so far. Maybe a better show next year :)
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