Perseid Peak

The peak of the Perseid meteor shower should be occurring right about now (within an hour or so). Unfortunately for people in Europe and North America, it is currently daylight so I shall have to wait until later to have a look myself.

Perseid Meteor Shower
An illustration of the Perseid meteor shower showing the radiant. This would be the view at about 11 pm BST on 11th or 12th August CREDIT: Stuart/Stellarium
This week has been very cloudy here in Manchester, so I've not seen anything in the night sky. Weather folklore around these parts says that if there is enough blue sky to make a pair of sailor's trousers before lunchtime, the evening will be clear. I don't know how much blue sky that actually is, but earlier there was a patch of blue sky and it certainly has cleared up.

If you are in the UK and would like to go meteor spotting, you should go out into your garden - or any dark spot - during twilight and get yourself comfortable on a deckchair or sun-lounger looking towards the north-east. A blanket/warm jacket and a flask of tea or glass of wine may be useful too.

Try to find a 'w-shaped' constellation (Cassiopeia - the Princess) and look a bit below it towards the constellation of Perseus (the Hero). That is the direction that the meteors will appear to come from. The best way to observe them is to look, by eye, about 50 degrees away from the top of Perseus. Eyes are much better than a pair of binoculars of you have a wider view.

It should hopefully be a fantastic firework show.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 12th Aug 2005 (17:17 UTC) | Permalink
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