Perseid Meteor Shower
The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight into early Sunday morning and if the sky above you is clear you are sure to enjoy a spectacular astronomical show. While the meteors are the main billing tonight, there are a few other players on the stellar stage. Look to the east early tomorrow morning before dawn as Jupiter, then the moon and finally Venus will rise, creating a nice diagonal line. Of course with any of these events in the sky the weather is the most important variable. It won't matter how great the meteors are if it's overcast. Much of Texas, the Ohio Valley, Tennessee, the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi and the Rockies look to have favorable sky conditions. parts of Florida and a good deal of the West Coast will also be mainly clear.
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The annual Perseid meteor shower is this weekend. You can expect to see up to one meteor each minute streaking across the sky. Meteors are tiny fragments of minerals that burn up upon hitting our atmosphere. Some Meteorites can be comprised up of minerals rich in silicon and oxygen. Other meteorites consist mainly of iron and nickel, while some are combinations of all four elements. Most are surprisingly tiny about the size of a grain of rice. They burn up in our atmosphere 30-60 miles above the surface of the earth. If a meteor does make it all the way to the ground, we call it a meteorite. If you are interested in gardening, science or weather check out my Twitter feed
This year the ability to view the Perseid meteor showering is getting some cooperation from the moon. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights the moon will be in the waning crescent phase meaning it is getting a bit smaller with time. When the moon is full, it is very difficult to see a good meteor shower because of all the added light. The smaller the moon, the less light and we have a very small moon this weekend. Of course, the moon's phase won't matter if it's cloudy where you are viewing the annual meteor shower. While computer models can't predict the weather with 100% accuracy, I can give you an idea of what the weather and sky condition will be the next few nights. If you follow me on Twitter, send me a tweet for a personal forecast at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com I think some of the best viewing will be in the Ohio valley and the west. I might have to drive quite far to get clear skies this year.FULL ENTRY
For professional and amateur astronomers the Perseid meteor shower is one of the more anticipated events of the year. This annual event occurs as the result of a comet discovered 150 years ago,in the mid-19th century by Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle high in the summer sky. A few years later, in 1867, an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli noticed that the Perseid meteors happened in similar fashion to the orbit of the Swift-Tuttle comet. His hypothesis, which was eventually proven, was that the meteors were small fragments of that comet breaking away and sweeping through the solar system. Since many of the meteors appear to shoot across the constellation Perseus, the event is called the Perseid meteor shower. If you have any questions about this blog, weather or just want to let me know you saw some shooting stars I would love to hear from you on Twitter at @growingwisdomFULL ENTRY