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08/09/2021 – Ephemeris – The Perseid Meteors are coming!

August 9, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, August 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 18 minutes, setting at 8:57, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:39. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:03 this evening.

If you’ve been out and about under the dark night skies in the last week or so, you may have spotted a few, what are sometimes called, falling or shooting stars. If these could be traced back to the northeastern sky, those were advance members of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The peak of the shower will be on the afternoon of Thursday the 12th, so actually the best time to see them will be in the early hours of that morning. With few exceptions, the best time to view meteors in general or a meteor shower is in the wee morning hours. The Perseids however favor us, because the point from which they seem to come, called the radiant, is so far north that it never sets for us, so they can be seen all night. In the evening, there are just fewer of them.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Perseid fireballs in NASA all sky camera

Perseid fireballs in one of NASA’s all sky cameras during the morning hours of August 13, 2017. This is a long time exposure. The bright swath in the image is the Moon that morning. Since it is a time exposure, the radiant is also moving with the earth’s rotation, so the meteors only seem to come from the northeastern sky. North is at the top, and East is to the left. Credit NASA.