Bring your lawn chair or blanket and join The Wilderness
Center Astronomy Club for our annual Perseid meteor shower
watch on August 13. No special equipment is needed — just
your eyes. The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower of
the year. You should plan on staying for a while. The number
of Perseids visible will increase from about 10 p.m. all the
way through dawn when the radiant point will be nearly
overhead. Although there will be fewer meteors earlier in the
night, the ones that do appear will have longer tails as they
will be traveling through more atmosphere. The Perseids are
also known to be rich in fireballs which originate from larger
particles of comet debris and are larger explosions of light that
can last longer than the average meteor streak.
This year the Perseids will be active from July 17 to August 26
with the maximum occurring on the night of August 11 and
morning of August 12. Ideal conditions for observing meteor
showers are very dark skies free of moonlight or light pollution
with the radiant nearly overhead. This year the maximum
occurs three days after New Moon and the Moon will set just as
the meteors start to appear. For those with clear, dark skies and
no light pollution around 50 to 75 meteors per hour could be
seen. Being a few days after the peak we expect to see a few less
meteors, and who knows, maybe we will be richly rewarded for
our patience and see a fireball.
For those interested in seeing other wonders of the night sky,
Astronomy Club members will have their telescopes set up in
the parking lot to observe the Moon and other objects with you.
The Perseid meteor shower watch and all other observing are
cancelled if cloudy.