Meteor Showers tonight and Wednesday!!

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    SensGirl11
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    Meteor Showers tonight and Wednesday!!

    Post by SensGirl11 on Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:22 am

    From the Ottawa Sun

    KINGSTON - Showers are forecast for this week, but for once this summer, that's a good thing.
    The annual Perseids meteor shower is lighting up the skies, but you either have to go to bed late or get up early to see the best of it.
    The largest meteor shower of the year, the Perseids occurs when the earth slips through a cloud of debris -- known as dross -- left by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the largest comet that passes close to Earth. The best time to see the showers is expected to be after midnight Tuesday and Wednesday (August 11-12), but a few Perseids can be spotted early in the evening.
    "You can see them as soon as it starts getting dark," said Terry Bridges of the Queen's University observatory. "You can expect to see about one meteor every few minutes, but you might see more than that -- they can surprise you."
    The show is one of the most visible of the year as the meteors are bright enough to be seen even through the light pollution of the city. Telescopes or binoculars are not required, although the darker it is, the more meteors you will see.
    "You don't need any special equipment -- all you need are your eyes," said Bridges. "Even in the city it's worth checking out."
    The only thing that will interfere with visibility, besides clouds, is the waning moon, which could obscure the trails of some of the more faint meteors.
    The Perseid meteor shower gets its name because it appears to be coming from the arm of Perseus, the constellation near the famous Double Cluster. Perseid meteors tend to be fairly bright and close to half of them leave long, bright trails.
    Some astronomers are predicting a double peak of meteors this year as the earth moves through two different belts of heavy dust early tomorrow morning, with one peak predicted to occur at around 1 a. m. and the other about four hours later, just before sunrise.
    The objects that cause the meteors are tiny, ranging from the size of grains of sand to the size of pebbles, with the consistency of cigarette ash.
    While observing the Perseids needs no equipment, if you have a telescope or a good pair of binoculars and you are outside anyway, you can train them on Saturn. The planet's distinctive rings vanished last night as, once every 15 years, they are edge-on to the earth.
    The rings are bands of dust only nine metres thick, and when they are facing the earth directly, they are for all intents invisible, although the details of the planet are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

    Very cool, I'm looking forward to seeing this. Ahhhhh!
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    wprager
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    Re: Meteor Showers tonight and Wednesday!!

    Post by wprager on Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:38 am

    Excellent, it looks like the conditions will be pretty decent for tonight in Ottawa:
    http://cleardarksky.com/c/Ottawakey.html

    By 9-9:30 (my boys are still up then) it should be dark enough, and the cloud cover is about 40-50%. Not ideal, but given all the rain we've been having it's not bad.


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