Perseid Meteor Shower, 2012

Annually the earth passes through a debris field when the debris particles striking our atmosphere produce a meteor shower.

In August this is the Perseid meteor shower, so-called because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus.

The best time to look skyward is just before dawn.

PerseidMeteorShowerDiagramClick image to view

As the BBC explains it; click HERE.

Spaceweather dot com explains it as well:

THE PERSEID METEOR SHOWER IS UNDERWAY: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Worldwide observers are now reporting more than 30 Perseids per hour, a number that could triple during the weekend when Earth reaches the heart of the debris zone. Forecasters recommend looking during the dark hours before dawn, especially Sunday morning, August 12th, when activity is expected to be highest.

Got clouds? Tune into SpaceWeather Radio for live echoes from Perseid meteors flying over the US Space Surveillance Radar in Texas.

The multi-station Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar, sponsored by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, is also monitoring the Perseids. Live data are available here. Bright spots in this sample radar sky map show the radiants of currently active showers:

Clearly, the Perseids are not the only meteors in the sky this weekend. The Northern and Southern Delta Aquarids (NDA and SDA) are also active. These showers, which are minor compared to the Perseids, spring from 96P/Machholz, a comet that some researchers suspect is a visitor from another star system.

This is a great weekend for watching meteors–but that’s not all. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are lining up in the pre-dawn sky right in the middle of the Perseid display. The conjunction of planets guarantees that you will see something beautiful even in the unlikely event that the shower fizzles.

Spaceweather Sky map:


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3 Responses to “Perseid Meteor Shower, 2012”

  1. David McAllister says:

    There are lots of good photos of the meteor shower at Space Weather


  2. David McAllister says:

    No luck on Sunday evening. Quite thick haze. Capella could be seen but no other stars and in a 10 min watch I saw no meteors.


  3. David McAllister says:

    I had 7 Perseids in 15 mins at 23:35 (28/hr) and 3 in 5min at 00:10 (36/hr). Fairly good rates counting that I am in the town and part of the sky is obscured by houses. The sky was clear but with high wispy clouds which would also have obscured fainter meteors.