The 2014 Perseid Meteor shower is coming tonight, and you will not want to miss this most sought-after yearly celestial event.
Staring as early as July 17, 2014 and lasting through August 24, 2014, originating in the constellation Perseus, which is the radiant that Comet Swift-Tuttle passes through, the Perseids promise a spectacular viewing. Even though tonight has a bright, waning gibbous Supermoon, while looking east-northeast, if you look away from the Moon, you should be able to see activity during the peak hours of August 12-13, 2014 from 12:00 midnight to 4:00 a.m.. For those who cannot get out tonight to see the shower, you can see the Perseids live online courtesy of the Slooh Community Observatory and NASA. Broadcast live from the Canary Islands, west of the southern border of Morocco. (Africa), these two free webcasts of the meteor shower begin at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Slooh’s website, http://www.slooh.com.
You can also watch the Perseid meteor shower webcasts live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh and NASA.
NASA will also stream the Perseids live from Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT (0130 GMT). At 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT), NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office chief Bill Cooke hosts a live online chat with his colleagues Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw. You can follow the NASA webcast and online chat here: http://www.nasa.gov/watchtheskies/perseids-2014.html#.U-oCUfldWSo.
Even Google gets in on the action with another one of their lovely doodles by honoring the meteor shower:
- Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
- Radiant: Constellation Perseus
- Active: 17 July — 24 Aug. 2014
- Peak Activity: 12-13 Aug. 2014
- Peak Activity Meteor Count: Up to 100 meteors per hour
- Meteor Velocity: 59 km (37 miles) per second
The Perseids usually generate about 60 to 100 meteors per hour. The Moon’s light will block out much of the shower, but you can still see about 30-50 meteors as they descend into Earth’s atmosphere, giving us the bright flash of their beauty. Heck, you may even be lucky to see a fireball, or two.
The Perseids are the most well-known of yearly meteor showers, second only to the Geminids, which occur in December. So, grab yourself a blanket, pull up a comfortable chair, sit back, relax and watch one of Nature’s most beautiful marvels.
2014 PERSEID METEOR SHOWER
The 2014 Perseid meteor shower will peak between August 10 and August 13. A waning Gibbous Moon (the Moon’s phase after a full moon) may make it harder for observers to see the shower. Despite this, astronomers suggest that observers try their luck to catch some Perseids before dawn on August 11, 12 and 13.
The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occur every August, peaking around August 9-13. Consisting of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation, Perseus. This is because, their radiant or the direction of which the shower seems to come from lies in the same direction as Perseus. The constellation lies in the north-eastern part of the sky.
While the skies light up several time a year by other meteor showers , the Perseids are widely sought after by astronomers and stargazers alike. This is because at its peak, one can view 60 to a 100 meteors in an hour from a dark place.
Where to view
The Perseids can be viewed by observers in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are planning to view the shower, look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky and the zenith (the point in sky directly above you). But don’t worry, you do not have to make any major astronomical calculations. Just lay a blanket on the ground, lie down and let your eyes wander around the sky – you will be bound to spot the shower sooner or later.
When to view
The best time to view the Perseids, or most other meteor showers is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.
How to view
There isn’t a lot of skill involved in watching a meteor shower. Here are some tips on how to maximize your time looking for the Perseids:
- Get out of the city to a place where city and artificial lights do not impede your viewing
- If you are out viewing the shower during its peak, you will not need any special equipment. You should be able to see the shower with your naked eyes.
- Carry a blanket or a comfortable chair with you – viewing meteors, just like any other kind of star gazing is a waiting game, and you need to be comfortable. Plus, you may not want to leave until you can’t see the majestic celestial fireworks anymore.
- Check the weather and moonrise and moonset timings for your location before you leave, and plan your viewing around it.
Location in the sky: The following is for viewing in Houston, TX:
|Perseids meteor shower for Houston (Night between Aug 12 and Aug 13)|
|Tue 9:00 PM||16°||1.7°|
|Tue 10:00 PM||22°||5.8°|
|Tue 11:00 PM||28°||11.3°|
|Wed 1:00 AM||36°||25.2°|
|Wed 2:00 AM||37°||33.0°|
|Wed 3:00 AM||37°||40.9°|
|Wed 4:00 AM||34°||48.6°|
|Wed 5:00 AM||27°||55.3°|
|Wed 6:00 AM||15°||60.1°|
Direction to see the Perseids in the sky:
- Azimuth is the direction, based on true north, a compass might show a slightly different value.
- Altitude is height in degrees over horizon.