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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cosmic Crumbs

The perseid meteor shower peaks tonight in Connecticut. This year was SUPPOSED to be exceptionally good for viewing because the moon will set early in the evening (9:00 PM) leaving the sky dark for nature’s light show. GO FIGURE…it’s cloudy outside and we don’t expect the clouds to break until midday Friday.

The perseid meteor shower is really just debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle which has been orbiting the earth for centuries. As debris collides with the earth’s atmosphere at 133,200 mph, the debris heats up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat causes the long lived streaks you see in the sky that resemble a shooting star. On a good night you can see one meteor a minute.
So what now? Well on Friday night skies will be mainly clear. The peak viewing period will have passed…BUT if you’re persistent you will probably get to see some action. Just go to an area with little or no surrounding city lights and look up! The best time to see the perseids will be after midnight through the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning.

Good luck. I’ll be staring up at the sky too! If you get any good pictures, send them my way!

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