Are You Ready For the Perseid Meteor Shower?
by Daphne Thompson, on Aug 8, 2016 3:13:21 PM
Despite what many think, meteorologists do not study meteors. That, however, doesn't mean we don't enjoy watching them! This year, the Perseid meteor shower is set to peak in North America on the night of August 11 into the early morning hours of August 12. Let's take a look at what the weather will be like.
Every August, the Earth passes through the pieces left from the Swift-Tuttle comet. This comet rotates around the sun every 133 years leaving trillions of particles behind. Some years, we just get a glancing blow, but this year's Perseid meteor shower may be more spectacular than normal. We will take a path through the middle of the debris. This should increase the rate up to 200 meteors per hour, in what NASA calls an "outburst". Sounds great, but will you be able to view them from your location? Let's find out.
First off, let's starts off by checking on the moon. When the moon is full, it reflects too much light and does not allow for very good star gazing. On the night of August 11, the moon will be in the waxing gibbous phase. This means it will be at about 57% illuminated, providing light pollution.
The weather will also be causing issues for many. Looking at the precipitation forecast, shown above, those who live in the Gulf Coast area may not be able to view any meteors as heavy rain is expected. If you live in the Great Lakes region, you may also have your view blocked. Those in the West should have an unobstructed view.
As far as temperature, if you live in the dark orange or red areas it will be quite warm. Expect 80s to mid 90s for your evening viewing. Winds should be light, but hopefully just strong enough to blow away any mosquitoes.
If you are in one of the obstructed viewing areas, know that next August we will pass through the Swift-Tuttle comet debris once again. Until then, here's a video of a past Perseid meteor shower so that you don't feel left out.
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