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Perseid Meteor Showers

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If there is one treat the summer months offer, it is the ability to enjoy the night sky.  Over the weekend I had an exchange with a reader concerning meteor showers. Each year we have a page devoted to the best meteor viewings. In the 2008 edition we placed this within  the calendar pages but in 2009 we will return the familiar meteor information (page 94) section for those who enjoy watching the skies.

On of the best viewings of the year takes place in  August – the Perseid Meteors. They are visible  between the 11th and 13th. Here are the specifics:

In three out of four years, the maximum visibility comes on August 12.  In some years (usually the year before a leap year) the peak comes on August 13.  These dates are for just before dawn (early morning hours).  So in those years when the peak is on August 12, people start looking late on the night of the 11th (before midnight).  In any case, August 11-13 is probably the best range of dates to list for viewing them.  Even on the night before and night after the peak, the meteors are still rather plentiful and worth looking for.

So, get the binoculars out and next week start looking skyward for a meteor show. While the best viewing is pre-dawn on August 12th, you can view showers from the 11th – 13th. If you are interested in meteors, here is a link to learn more www.farmersalmanac.com/astronomy/a/look-its-a-shooting-star.

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5 comments

1 Brian Bodnar { 08.07.08 at 11:05 am }

Linda, saw the same meteor you did from Virginia beach with the same description at the same time. The had to be the brightest one I’ve seen and around all these darned city lights.

2 Peter Geiger { 08.06.08 at 5:52 pm }

My predawn wake up call is 3:00am – 5:00am Eastern time. There should be meteor showers from August 11 – 13th with this specific time being the greatest visibility. I watched last year and it was quite a show. You will see even see meteor showers before the 11th and after the 13th – so if you can’t get up predawn, look any evening that week.

3 Linda Lakin { 08.04.08 at 2:52 pm }

10:00p.m. Eastern time.

4 Linda Lakin { 08.04.08 at 2:51 pm }

I live in Mathews Va on the Chesaapeake Bay. Last night I was sitting out on our dock on the East River looking North and there was a huge meteor that was very bright, burning yellow will green as it extinguished. It was the biggest thing I’ve ever seen. Great fun. A total surprise and delight. The approximate time would have been 100P.M. Eastern time.

5 sharon mcknight { 08.04.08 at 1:21 pm }

I live in TN, close to the Great Smokey Mountains. My Question is about the time, as to which time zone you are referring to when you say pre-dawn hours. If that is the west coast, should I be looking 3 hours earlier?

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