Perseids Peeking

August 11, 2015

meteor-shower-1833-grangerOvercast this Tuesday afternoon on California’s north coast — the NWS adds the weather-soaked influence of our forest fires, ‘Areas Smoke,’ to today and tonight’s forecast.

Once again, Redheaded Blackbelt has all the info on our fire situation, including news of a inmate-firefighter injury at the Humboldt Complex fires — he apparently wasn’t seriously injured, and was released from the hospital this morning.

If the overcast/smoke takes a breather this week, we can get a view of the Perseid meteor shower — via EarthSky.org: ‘No matter where you live worldwide, the 2015 Perseid meteor shower will probably be fine on the mornings of August 11, 12, 13 and 14, with the nod going to August 13. On a dark, moonless night, you can often see 50 or more meteors per hour from northerly latitudes, and from southerly latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps about one-third that many meteors.’

(Illustration above found here).

And the source material for this light show:

Every year, from around July 17 to August 24, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.
Debris from this comet litters the comet’s orbit, but we don’t really get into the thick of the comet rubble until after the first week of August.
The bits and pieces from Comet Swift-Tuttle slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at some 210,000 kilometers (130,000 miles) per hour, lighting up the nighttime with fast-moving Perseid meteors.
If our planet happens to pass through an unusually dense clump of meteoroids – comet rubble – we’ll see an elevated number of meteors.
We can always hope!

Although the daylight hours can sometimes get smoked-filled and overcast, during the pre-dawn mornings lately here along the coast, has been fairly-clear when I’ve took a glance outside and upward — supposedly early Wednesday and Thursday mornings the best time to view the show. Just find a good spot, and be careful:

“Try to find a campground or someplace that’ll allow you to be there overnight,” Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society, said.
Light pollution can reduce star visibility by a factor of 10, depending on the location, while under the clear, dark sides of the countryside as many as 80 to 100 meteors may be visible per hour.
“Parks and beaches would be great but they’ll usually close their gates at dusk,” Hnkey warned, saying the most important tips were simply to plan ahead and bring supplies to get comfortable.
“You could always find a nice road that’s not traveled much but you’ll want to have permission.
“People can get very weird at night.”

People can be weird at anytime, Mike.
Falling stars or not…

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