Astronomy Professor Offers Tips for Viewing Perseids
The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend. U.Va.. astronomy professor (and all-around good guy) Ed Murphy offers these tips for viewing:
The best time to see the shower will be Saturday night after 11 p.m. into Sunday morning or even Sunday night into Monday morning. The moon will be a thick waning crescent and will rise at 1:46 a.m. on Sunday. Thus, it should not greatly interfere with viewing the shower.The Perseid Meteor Shower typically produces 50 to 60 meteors per hour under dark skies. A telescope or binoculars are not needed. Just simply lay outside after 11 p.m. on a blanket or in a chair, face the northeast and look high up in the sky. The typical Perseid meteor is traveling about 30 km/s (18 miles per second) as it hits the Earth’s atmosphere.The meteoroids are a bit larger than a good-sized grain of sand and the glowing trail is the result of the small meteoroid compressing and heating the air around it as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The Perseid meteoroids derive from the Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Murphy also offers this link for more information about the Perseids.