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08/09/2018 – Ephemeris – How to observe the Perseid Meteor Shower

August 9, 2018

Ephemeris for Thursday, August 9th. The Sun rises at 6:38. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 8:57. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:30 tomorrow morning.

Now through most of this month and reaching peak numbers Sunday evening and Monday morning the Perseid meteors will be shooting through our skies. Where to look? Up is the direction. All over the sky. They will seem to come from the northeast on parallel paths, like driving through a snow storm at night, the snowflakes will diverge from right in front of you. The numbers will generally increase as that radiant point rises higher in the sky. A diligent experienced, and undistracted, observer may see up to 100 or more an hour. Casual observers will see much less. The longest meteor streaks will be seen early in the evening when the meteoroids enter the atmosphere at 37 miles (59 km) per second at a very shallow angle, so last a bit longer.  Bring a blanket, dress warmly and enjoy the show!

The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Perseid Sky Dome Animation

The sky dome for the night of the Perseid shower maximum at 1 hour intervals from 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Click on image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program and GIMP.

For locations other than the Traverse City/Interlochen area the 10:30 step is approximately an hour and a half after sunset.

My best Perseid photo. From the 70's.

My best Perseid photo. From the 70’s.

Perseid Meteors

Here are some meteors seen in the 2007 Perseid meteor shower taken by Scott Anttila. The image is centered on Cassiopeia. The radiant is low and a bit left of center in the image. The Double Cluster is seen below center and the Great Andromeda Galaxy is seen on the right just above center.

The logic of taking meteor photos pointing near the radiant is the he meteors appear to travel slower there because they are coming mostly toward the camera and have a better chance of being picked up.  My photograph was unguided, so the stars trailed.  Scott’s was guided.


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