Two Meteor Showers Put On A Summer Celestial Show

Perseid Meteor
Perseid Meteor taken with a phone .. Chip Thompson. 2016

The Delta Aquariids are still going strong and the Perseids are starting to show up as well.  Late at night after the moon sets is the best viewing time from midnight until dawn.  The radiant point for the Delta Aquarid shower is near star Skat, or Delta Aquarii in the great square of the constellation  Pegasus.  The Deltas are not as bright as the perseids, and peak in late July usually ending around August twenty third.  They generate about ten to twenty meteors per hour.  The Perseids peak from the eleventh to the thirteenth of August.  Perseid numbers typically reach fifty or more meteors per hour around the peak.  They radiate from the constellation, Perseus, the stars Capella and Aldebaran, and the Pleiades cluster.   Every year, from around July 17 to August 24, planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, and creates the Perseid meteor shower. Debris from  the comet’s orbit is what causes the meteors.

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This year we will have to contend with a bright moon which could wash out a lot of the visible meteors.  These two meteor showers overlap and are one of the favorites of stargazers.  Find a start place to watch and enjoy the show.  The beach is always a good choice.

Fish On!
Rich King


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