Julie Stalmer 6:30 p.m., July 23
Perseids Meteor Shower
On the night of Saturday, August 11 when the morning crescent moon appears in the sky just hours before the Sun, the Perseids meteor shower will begin. The times are approximate, but the constellation Perseus rises in the northeast sky at about 11 p.m.
What is the Perseids meteor shower? "Meteor showers are named for the constellation that coincides with this region in the sky, a spot known as the radiant. For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is in the constellation Leo. The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus."
According to Stardate.org, meteor showers are "spawned" by comets. "As a comet orbits the Sun it sheds an icy, dusty debris stream along its orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower. Although the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, if you trace their paths, the meteors in each shower appear to 'rain' into the sky from the same region."
This is the 2010 Perseid meteor shower time lapse video taken near Palomar Observatory on Palomar Mountain in North San Diego County:
To view the meteor shower, find a dark observing space like a park or your own backyard if there aren't too many lights. And if you're able to spot the Little Dipper, you should be able to see the shower of interplanetary rock and debris.
More like this:
- The Orionid Meteor Shower Happening Now — Oct. 20, 2009
- Thunderheads, Sandpipers, Naked-Eye Planets, and the Perseid Meteor Shower — Aug. 6, 2008
- Experts predict 2001's Leonid meteor shower will roar. — Nov. 15, 2001
- Will the 1999 Leonid meteor shower amaze or bore early-morning skywatchers — Nov. 11, 1999
- Good prospects await observers of 1998's Leonid meteor shower — Nov. 12, 1998