Sunday, August 12, 2007
Above: A Perseid fireball photographed August 12, 2006, by Pierre Martin of Arnprior, Ontario, Canada.
That's Right. Tonight, Sunday, August 12th is the peak of the 2007 Perseid meteor shower.
UPDATE: I only got about 3 hours of sleep on Sunday night and it was way worth it! It was a perfectly clear, moonless evening, about 71 degrees for the meteor shower. There were a few long tails that streaked for 2-3 seconds, and one really big bright one that appeared a little after 4am that really lit up the sky. I quit counting after seeing more than 120. Tired, but so happy we stayed up.
And folks, you can't Tivo this...
"It's going to be a great show," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center. "The Moon is new on August 12th which means no moonlight, dark skies and plenty of meteors."
How many? Cooke estimates one or two Perseids per minute at the shower's peak.
Tonight's show is scheduled to peak about 2:45AM down here in Texas where we'll be hangin' in the beautifully dark Teaxs Hill Country, floating in the pool at the awesome Flag Creek Inn.
It's going to be a perfect summer night for checking out the Perseids, drinking some wine and test driving this week's HMK Mystery Stream, (which goes live on Tuesday.)
The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is nowhere near Earth, the comet's tail does intersect Earth's orbit. We glide through it every year in August. Tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth's atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light--a meteor--when it disintegrates. Because Swift-Tuttle's meteors fly out of the constellation Perseus, they are called "Perseids."
More here: Perseid Meteor Shower.
Find someplace dark and have fun tonight!