The 2016 Perseid meteor shower will peak August 11-12, so don't miss it!

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I can always tell when the Perseid meteor shower is about to happen around here. It’s during the five days of overcast that follows two weeks of clear skies. Sigh.


The peak of the Perseids this year will be during a pretty bright first quarter moon later this week, which will make the fireballs less spectacular. That’s also a Sigh.

Note that the Cal Academy of Sciences has a nice video on how to best view a meteor shower. Informative, entertaining, a good spend of 4 minutes.

Lie down on a cot, a lounge chair, or on the ground. Look up at the sky but don’t focus your attention on any particular area. When a streak appears, flick your attention to the area.

If you’ve got a sufficiently dark sky, you should see dozens per hour.

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Always makes me remember:

Doesn’t there seem to be a new reason every year for why this year’s meteor shower will totally be the most awesome one ever this time? I don’t think I’ve ever recalled an article stating “The Perseids are going to happen soon, but they’re going to be pretty boring this year so never mind.”

Another thing I don’t see are statistics about people getting lost, injured, or attacked wandering into dark places in the middle of nowhere late at night


Best Perseid watching I ever managed was after a long day of spectrometer coding work, on the roof of the Submillimeter Telescope on top of Mt. Graham, on a moonless Friday night about 5 years back. I hadn’t ever just stared at the sky for hours like that before.


Just come back in after a half-hour or so’s watching. Saw three definites and a maybe. Not bad for a small lit park in the middle of town. I positioned myself so that trees blocked most of the lights, and just held my hand up over the remaining light. Little bit of cloud as well, but it was thin and mostly stayed in the southern sky.

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I do remember articles of that nature around the appearance of Halley’s Comet back in 1986. And as it turned out:

Halley’s 1986 apparition was the least favorable on record. The comet and Earth were on opposite sides of the Sun in February 1986, creating the worst viewing circumstances for Earth observers for the last 2,000 years.

Maybe the number of astronomical-viewing-related late-night misadventures is statistically insignificant.

You could even say they were…

( •

…astronomically small.

YEEAA…I’ll get my coat.


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