A Show Of Lights In The Night Sky
Annual meteor shower is expected to reach its peak tonight.
Star gazers are in for a treat tonight as the annual Perseid meteor shower will grace the sky with its light show.
The shower has been visible on clear nights for more than two weeks, but tonight between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. the shower will peak and there will be a chance to see dozens of meteors per hour, according to NASA.gov.
"The Perseid's are one of the best meteor showers of the year," said Steve Petzold, president of The Local Group Astronomy Club of Santa Clarita. "You should just go to your backyard and get rid of as much light as you can and enjoy."
The Perseid meteor shower is a result of dust from the comet Swift-Tuttle, hitting the earth's atmosphere and burning up.
Don't head for the hills just yet however, "Armageddon" isn't upon us. Swift-Tuttle isn't expected to come close to Earth for another for another 117 years.
"The name Persied comes from the origin of the cloud, also know as the radiant, which starts in the constellation Perseus," said Petzold.
Viewers of the shower may encounter some problems seeing the show because of how bright the moon will be. The moon is in its gibbous phase, which according to NASA will be 55 percent illuminated, so viewing in the early night may produce better results.
Here are a few tips that the KHTS news crew has come up with to optimize your viewing:
- The moon is beautiful, but don't stare at it. Bright moonlight ruins night vision and it will wipe out any faint Perseids in that part of the sky. (NASA.gov)
- The shower will be most visible in the northeast quadrant of the sky. For easy reference the I5 runs north to south and Sand Canyon is the eastern part of the city.
- Telescopes are not needed but binoculars may enhance images.
- Unfold a blanket on a flat patch of ground. (Note: The middle of your street is not a good choice.) Lie down and look up. (NASA.gov)
- Perseids tails all point back to the shower's radiant in the constellation Perseus. (NASA.gov)
- Dim all household lights especially, white lights.
For more information on the meteor shower or to quench your stellar thirst click here.
Image courtesy of NASA.