Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

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abuali
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Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby abuali » 13 Aug 2011, 01:02

The Perseids is an annual meteor shower that pays us earthlings a visit every August.

Tonight being one of the days it will be visible, i thought this information can be timely for those who would like to observe and learn a little about these meteor showers.

The Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle's orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space. In 2009, the estimated peak Zenithal Hourly Rate was 173, but fainter meteors were washed out by a waning gibbous moon.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids

Every year in mid-August the Perseid meteor shower has its peak. Meteors, colloquially known as “shooting stars”, are caused by pieces of cosmic debris entering Earth’s atmosphere at high velocity, leaving a trail of glowing gases. Most of the particles that cause meteors are smaller than a grain of sand and usually disintegrate in the atmosphere, only rarely reaching the Earth’s surface as a meteorite. The Perseid shower takes place as the Earth moves through the stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. In 2010 the peak was predicted to take place between 12–13 August 2010. Despite the Perseids being best visible in the northern hemisphere, due to the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit, the shower was also spotted from the exceptionally dark skies over ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile. In order not to miss any meteors in the display, ESO Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard set up 3 cameras to take continuous time-lapse pictures on the platform of the Very Large Telescope during the nights of 12–13 and 13–14 August 2010. This handpicked photograph, from the night of 13–14 August, was one of Guisard’s 8000 individual exposures and shows one of the brightest meteors captured. The scene is lit by the reddened light of the setting Moon outside the left of the frame.
source: http://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1033a/
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Re: Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby abuali » 13 Aug 2011, 01:14

So, the question I am often asked is how to best observe the meteor shower. I will try and answer this in a brief manner below for the case of the Perseids.

We already know that the Perseids 'radiant' (i.e. point in the sky from where it seems to originate) is the Perseus constellation.

What is the Perseus constellation?
Its a collection of stars that have been named after Perseus, the greek hero who kills Medusa in Greek mythology. The shape of the constellation is very similar to a 'Y'.

It will be rising from the North-East horizon in Dar es Salaam at around 2 am Dar es Salaam time. So even if you cannot recognize the constellation, lay back and look towards the North-Eastern sky. Sooner or later you will start observing some of the brighter shooting stars.

For the avid photographers, you can try capturing the shooting stars if you have a camera that allows you to make long exposures and remote triggering.
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Re: Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby smak786110 » 13 Aug 2011, 01:32

mashallah !
Hasin ur a genious my friend....!
let me go outside and take a look now... :confused:
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Re: Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby muslim » 13 Aug 2011, 01:43

i remember i couldn't see the meteor shower in NY because of the city lights and pollution
hope its visible today
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Re: Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby abuali » 13 Aug 2011, 01:55

Higher chances to spot it down here. However, Dar es Salaam has developed quite a high level of light pollution over the last few years, so your best bet is to try and go some kilometers away from the city, or pray Tanesco cuts power :)
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Re: Perseids Meteor Shower - August 9 - 14 every year

Postby abuali » 13 Aug 2011, 02:57

Due to the almost full moon, all but the brightest streaks will be very difficult to see.

The best time therefore to see the shower will be the 10 -15 minutes between the moon set and the sun rise!

I believe the moon will set around 5:45am.

Happy viewing

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