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Perseid Meteor Shower will visible on August 12-13th 2010

Posted by JohnD on Aug 11, 2010 | 20 Comments

The Meteor Shower August 2010 is expected to happen this late night of August 11, 2010. So if you happen to be amazed by how the universe showcase its beauty, you might wanna mark your calendar for this great day.

Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to be spectacular on August 12-13th

Meteors, or shooting stars, have already started streaking across the skies this week, but the peak is set for the late-night hours of Wednesday and the predawn hours of Thursday, and again late-night Thursday and predawn Friday, according to several websites devoted to the annual event.


Perseid Meteor Shower, 2010 Perseid Meteor Shower

Let’s just hope that clouds or rain will not get in the way of the view. Astronomers have calculated that the Meteor Shower August 2010 can be seen on Wednesday night up to the dawn of August 13, 2010. Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to have an astounding 60 plus meteors to light up the skies each hour.

The Perseids begin to rise in early August and meteor showers have their peak activity between August 12 and August 13, 2010. There are about 50 meteors per hour to be expected. The comet of origin of the Perseids meteor is 109P/Swift-Tuttle and they radiate from the constellation Perseus.

Perseid Meteor Shower, 2010 Perseid Meteor Shower

A small 1-inch (2.5-cm) wide meteor caused the fireball when it met a fiery demise Aug. 3 while streaking through Earth’s atmosphere, according to officials at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The fireball was observed by sky-watching cameras operated by the space center.

“It’s a very good start to this year’s Perseid meteor shower, which will peak on the night of Aug. 12-13 between midnight and dawn,” explained NASA spokesperson Janet Anderson in a statement from the space center.

Perseid Meteor Shower, 2010 Perseid Meteor Shower

The fireball occurred at about 9:56 p.m. local time and was low in the sky when it entered Earth’s atmosphere about 70 miles (112.6 km) above the town of Paint Rock. It appeared about 9.5 degrees above the horizon. For comparison, your fist held at arm’s length is equal to roughly 10 degrees of the night sky.

NASA observations found the meteor to be hurtling through the atmosphere at a phenomenal 134,000 mph (215,652 kph).

The best way to view a meteor shower

If you live near a brightly lit city, drive away from the glow of city lights and toward the constellation from which the meteors will appear to radiate.

Driving south may lead you to darker skies, but the glow will dominate the northern horizon, where Leo rises. Perseid meteors will appear to “rain” into the atmosphere from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast around 11 p.m. in mid-August.

“The Perseid shower is the most popular meteor shower of the year because it’s at the best time of year (summer) and it has some of the highest hourly rates of any annual shower,” said Dr. Peter Bias, an economics teacher at Florida Southern College in Lakeland and avid meteor shower observer.

Meteors can be seen as early as 10 p.m. (today) but not very many. This year the maximum should occur on the morning of Aug. 12, so evening meteors can be seen on Aug. 11 or Aug. 12 because the shower actually lasts for about two days at high strength.

Major Meteor Showers (2010-2011)

Delta Aquarids

Comet of Origin: unknown

Radiant: constellation Aquarius

Active: July 14-Aug. 18, 2010

Peak Activity: No definite peak, but nights surrounding July 30 were predicted to be the best

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 meteors per hour (Northern Hemisphere).

Time of Optimal Viewing: An hour or two before dawn. Meteor watchers in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere’s tropical latitudes enjoy the best views.

Meteor Velocity: 42 kilometers per second (26 miles per second)

Perseids

Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle

Radiant: constellation Perseus

Active: Perseids begin to rise early August.

Peak Activity: Aug. 12-13, 2010

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 50 meteors per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: Crescent moon will set early in the evening, allowing for dark skies all the way up until peak viewing just before dawn

Meteor Velocity: 61 kilometers (38 miles) per second

Note: The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most consistent performers and considered by many as 2010’s best shower. The meteors they produce are among the brightest of all meteor showers.

Orionids

Comet of Origin: 1P/Halley

Radiant: Just to the north of constellation Orion’s bright star Betelgeuse

Active: Oct. 4-Nov. 14, 2010

Peak Activity: Night of Oct. 22, but the light reflecting off an almost-full moon makes 2010 a less-than-spectacular year for one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular showers.

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 meteors per hour, if the sky is dark

Time of Optimal Viewing: An hour or two before dawn

Meteor Velocity: 68 kilometers (42 miles) per second

Note: With the second-fastest entry velocity of the annual meteor showers, meteors from the Orionids produce yellow and green colors and have been known to produce an odd fireball from time to time.

Leonids

Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle

Radiant: constellation Leo

Active: Nov. 7-28, 2010

Peak Activity: Night of Nov. 17-18, 2010

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: A half-full moon sets after midnight, allowing for a dark sky. Best viewing time will be just before dawn.

Meteor Velocity: 71 kilometers (44 miles) per second

Note: The Leonids have not only produced some of the best meteor showers in history, but they have sometimes achieved the status of meteor storm. During a Leonid meteor storm, many thousands of meteors per hour can shoot across the sky. Scientists believe these storms recur in cycles of about 33 years, though the reason is unknown. The last documented Leonid meteor storm occurred in 2002.

Geminids

Comet of Origin: 3200 Phaethon

Radiant: constellation Gemini

Active: Dec. 4-16, 2010

Peak Activity: Night of Dec 13-14, 2010

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 50 meteors per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: 2 a.m.

Meteor Velocity: 35 kilometers (22 miles) per second

Note: Generally, the Geminids or August’s Perseids provide the best meteor shower show of the year. Geminids are usually considered the best opportunity for younger viewers because the show gets going around 9 or 10 p.m. Unfortunately the moon does not set until after midnight this year, making for the possibility of drooping eyelids from the pre-teen set.

Quadrantids

Comet of Origin: 2003 EH1

Radiant: constellation Quadrant Murales

Active: Dec. 28, 2010-Jan. 12, 2011

Peak Activity: Jan. 3-4, 2011

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 40 meteors per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: 2:30 a.m. to dawn

Meteor Velocity: 41 kilometers (25.5 miles) per second

Note: The alternate name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids. Constellation Quadrant Murales is now defunct, and the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation Bootes. Since the show is usually only a few hours long and often obscured by winter weather, it doesn’t have the same celebrated status as the Geminids or Perseids.

Lyrids

Comet of Origin: C/1861 G1 Thatcher

Radiant: constellation Lyra

Active: April 16-25, 2011

Peak Activity: April 21-22, 2011

Peak Activity Meteor Count: 18-20 meteors per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: 11 p.m.-dawn

Meteor Velocity: Lyrid meteors hit the atmosphere at a moderate speed of 48 kilometers (30 miles) per second. They often produce luminous dust trains observable for several seconds.

Note: Light from the waning gibbous moon will degrade viewing

Eta Aquarids

Comet of Origin: 1P Halley

Radiant: constellation Aquarius

Active: April 19-May 28, 2011

Peak Activity: Early morning May 5-7, 2011

Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 20 meteors per hour

Time of Optimal Viewing: 3:30-5 a.m.

Meteor Velocity: 66 kilometers (44 miles) per second

Look towards the North East for the best chance of seeing them (but it’s true that they can appear in any part of the sky).

If you happen to know the straggly constellation Perseus then that’s the one to look for. It’s near the ‘W’ shaped constellation Cassiopeia. Or if you happen to know where the Andromeda galaxy is it’s in that general area as well. If all you can manage is the Plough then it’s a wee bit underneath the handle.

If it’s a good shower you can expect to see a bright one every minute or two, some of them producing ragged ’smoke’ trails which linger a while

The most likely peak is early Friday morning but it can be significantly earlier or later.

However, even if the conditions are right, they can be a bit of a damp squib. Last really good shower in the UK I can remember was 1998 or 1999 (can’t remember exactly which).

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20 comments

  1. JDBasher says:

    Just go out to a REALLY dark place and look for the big “W” in the sky… The “W” is the constellation Cassiopeia. It will show up in the North-Eastern sky. Hold your left hand (fingers closed) out at arms length with the “W” visible on the left side….. The meteors will seem to come from the base of your thumb. The group of stars the meteors come from is the constellation Perseus, hence the name “Perseids” If you cant find the “W”…. Look for the Big Dipper just below and to the left of the “W”. The two stars that make the top of the cup of the Big Dipper point to the area that the meteors come from opposite the handle. If you look up and right of the Big Dipper, you should see the “W”. The “Little Dipper” can be found by following the line made by the front two stars of the cup in the Big Dipper ‘upwards until you find the ‘cup’ of the “Little Dipper” …. The last star in the Dippers handle is the “North Star” named because all other stars and constellations rotate around that point in space. The shower will be about one and a half hands to the right of the Little Dipper. Europe will get the best viewing with up to 50 “shooting stars” per hour. Have FUN!

  2. chinki says:

    Perseids are definitely my favorite meteor shower. I am glad there are curious people who pay attention to and post reminders of stuff like this. Hard to believe there are those who have never seen a meteor, but perhaps harder to believe is that many people simply don’t care. Kudos to you for enlightening and inspiring others to pay attention to their surroundings.

  3. lindsay says:

    I’m an amateur mathematician, in my future articles I plan on using a lot of astronomy as a source of analogy. The use of astronomy in mathematics is like when teachers use diagrams to give their students a clearer picture of complex problems.
    Problem in understanding an equation? Look into the sky.

  4. rimy says:

    I live near Cantoria, Spain. If only the big marble factory which lies to the North of us would just turn its lights off at night we should get an amazing view. Just think of all the electricity they would save as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will take too much notice of me telling them to stop the light pollution.

  5. zonny says:

    I am now in Toronto and am excited to find a “Sweet Spot” to view them this year.

    We used to enjoy them from Topanga Canyon in the San Fernando Valley in So. Cal. *sigh* Miss Good Ole’ Cali.

    Thank you for your post and for letting EVERYONE know about this Awesomeness ;)

  6. maria says:

    if you just stand in your back garden/yard, you will see them just as good as i will. i always get a good viewing of these, even though i live in a built up area. If the sky is clear, you will see them.

  7. bebo says:

    I have been trying to catch the Perseids for a number of years. I unfortunately have not been able to do so yet, as there’s always something stopping me…fog, ambient light, an evil alarm clock malfunction… I’ll try again this year. Appreciate the article!

  8. kristen says:

    Thank you so much for posting this information. I live just outside of Gainesville, Florida (University of Florida) and a stargazer myself. I’m fortunate enough to live rurally…Hence, deep darkness for crystal clear gazing at the beautiful sky full of magnificence…

  9. Neaz says:

    I’m an amateur mathematician, in my future articles I plan on using a lot of astronomy as a source of analogy. The use of astronomy in mathematics is like when teachers use diagrams to give their students a clearer picture of complex problems.
    Problem in understanding an equation? Look into the sky.

  10. helon says:

    I live near Cantoria, Spain. If only the big marble factory which lies to the North of us would just turn its lights off at night we should get an amazing view. Just think of all the electricity they would save as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will take too much notice of me telling them to stop the light pollution.

  11. mugdha says:

    Hi Envoy,

    Don’t worry too much about the predicted time of maximum. For one this time can often be wrong by a few hours and two, the Perseids will be producing lots of meteors for hours before and after the maximum. If you go out to watch on Friday morning, or even Thursday morning, you’ll see plenty of Perseids (assuming your not observing from the middle of a large city, then you might see only a few per hour).

  12. MartianSam says:

    Is anyone else a little freaked out at the juxtaposition of stories on meteor showers being high-volume right when we have back-to-back spacewalks?

    I mean, I’m the son of a test pilot and I’m not timid, and a week without cooling is probably a greater risk to ISS than the meteor shower is to the spacewalkers, but this just has face-palm written all over it.

  13. sam says:

    Understood, and I do trust them not to be foolish the vast majority of the time. And then there’s Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, etc.
    Nobody bats 1000, and all of those were face-palm moments where theoretically a high school student could have caught the mistake. This is not to belittle NASA engineers – they are the best of the best. Unfortunately, some jobs in this world require such mental focus to get the details right that the generalities get lost. In a world where most of us can’t change our own oil, they are heroes. But they are still human beings. We belittle them by both putting the podium too low or to high.

  14. mony says:

    I’ve been telling everyone about this! This is very exciting and I am looking forward to seeing it. I live rural, and it gets very dark here at night, (no light pollution). We plan on sitting out on our front lawn to watch the show.

  15. debina says:

    I live on a houseboat in the mountains of Tennessee…..the stars are brilliant at night anyway…..I am putting lounge chairs on top of the boat with a chest of beer and wine and enjoying the show ! Who could BUY this kind of entertainment?!!!

  16. dino says:

    We were also out watching for meteror showers on the night of Aug 14/09 at 11:15pm in Nova Scotia. We saw the same thing that you have described. It was three lights in a triangle form moving very quickly, low, and absolutely no sound. Does anyone have an explanation of what this might be?

  17. Colton says:

    Hi Colton,
    I just some meteors (2-4) in the sky in my cottage backyard, however, they are hard to spot right now (12:00 am) but maybe at around 2:00 am it might more visible i’m gonna try again. It’s so nice outside, very warm the best night. Oh by the way I’m in Ontario, so I think you’ll be able to see it there as well. Thanks for everyone for the helpful information. This is my first time seeing a meteor shower, very pretty.

  18. Meteor says:

    I have read that the peak of the shower happened early this morning. However you may be able to catch the last part of the shower tonight (Tuesday night) into early morning before dawn on Wed. You may see fewer meteors tonight than last night, but from what i have seen in the past, your time may still be well worth it. Good luck and enjoy…

  19. pitorson says:

    We were on holiday in South Italy and waiting for the bus in the middle of nowhere on Tuesday 12th August / early hours of Wednesday 13th August, and we noticed something shooting past in the sky, which was just like a flash across the sky. It just caught our eyes and then another one followed shortly after. We saw probably about 3 of these happen and just want to know what we saw? It wasn’t like a shooting star as it had a tail and much closer in the sky. It was red – orange colour and looked more like fire shooting across the sky.

  20. Nutaryuk says:

    Ow.. i have an amazing view when i saw the meteors in clearly sky but too bad i didn’t take a pictures. Hope i can see them again tonight.

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