Weather Blog: A great night to catch the peak of the Perseid meteor shower

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Real Time Perseid from Sept. 8, 2018. Bright meteors and dark night skies made this year’s Perseid meteor shower a great time for a weekend campout. And while packing away their equipment, skygazers at a campsite in the mountains of southern Germany found at least one more reason to linger under the stars, witnessing this brief but colorful flash with their own eyes. Presented as a 50 frame gif, the two second long video was captured during the morning twilight of August 12. In real time it shows the development of the typical green train of a bright Perseid meteor. A much fainter Perseid is just visible farther to the right. Plowing through Earth’s atmosphere at 60 kilometers per second, Perseids are fast enough to excite the characteristic green emission of atomic oxygen at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so. Credit: Till Credner, AlltheSky.com

Just in case you may not have heard, tonight is the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. This is considered to be the best meteor shower of the year. If you live away from city lights, it is possible that you could see up to 100 meteors per hour. Realistically, you can expect to see 30 to 40 per hour. Unfortunately, that number goes down dramatically if you live in a town or city with a lot of light pollution. You may see four or five meteors per hour.

This should be a good year to try your luck. Given that we will have a crescent moon tonight that is only 17% full, moonlight will not impact the number of meteors that become visible. The weather will also cooperate as we will see a mostly clear sky over the ArkLaTex during most of the night tonight as you can see from Futurecast below.

CLICK HERE to see more forecasts from Futurecast.

Can’t head out tonight? Never fear. While the peak of the Perseids shower is tonight, it will continue through August 26th. The catch is that the number of meteors visible will gradually decrease each night. The best viewing is around midnight. Don’t forget the bug spray and be sure to give your eyes a good 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Once you head out, look up towards the north to the northeastern sky. Good Luck!

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