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Perseids Meteor Shower to Peak on Thursday Night! August 10, 2010

Posted by jcconwell in meteor.
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The Perseids are one of the most exciting and dynamic meteor showers; producing fast-moving shooting stars throughout July and August. Expect the “normal” peak of ~100 meteors per hour to occur in the night of August 12-13 between 18h and 7h Universal Time.

The shower surprised on several occasions over the last two decades by showing outbursts of 150 to 400+ meteors/hour due to the Earth passing through regions of higher density in the dust stream (e.g., ZHR ~200 last year). Simulations by Jeremie Vaubaillon and Mikhail Maslov indicate that we may again encounter ‘dust trails’ this year, left behind when the parent , Comet Swift-Tuttle,  passed the Sun in the years 441, 1479 and 1862.

The shower lasts for many days, but according to the International Meteor Organization this year’s peak should occur during a half-day-long window centered on 1:00 Universal Time on August 13th, which is ideal timing for skywatchers in Eurasia. For North Americans, the best viewing will probably be late Thursday night and early Friday morning, August 12-13, or possibly the night before.

In any case, prime viewing for the Perseids is from about 11 p.m. or midnight (local time) until the first light of dawn. This is when the shower’s radiant (its perspective point of origin) is well up in your sky. The higher the radiant, the more meteors you’ll see.

Perseid in the NE. Just before Midnight August 12, Cental Daylight Time

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