Sunday, August 12, 2012

Second Chance To See Perseids Meteor Tonight



CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- If you missed the peak of the Perseids meteor shower last night, don't worry.  You will be able to get a second chance to see it Sunday night, August 12, 2012. 
Although last night was the best night to watch the 2012 Perseids meteor shower, tonight's meteor shower will be nearly as spectacular as the peak.
 
 
So for those who were unable to view the meteor shower last night due to local cloud cover or simply were not awake, here is your second chance to view the Perseids meteor shower.
Tonight's meteor shower, a day after the peak of Saturday August 11, 2012, should be better than Friday's meteor shower the day before the peak.  That's because the nights leading up to the Perseids meteor shower peak were hampered by the light of a waning full moon.


For the 2012 Perseids meteor shower, a waning half moon will set darker skies each night following the peak of the shower.  The Perseids meteor shower will be viewable all over the world.   The major determining factor on where a good place is to watch the Perseids meteor shower will be determined by the viewer's local cloud cover.
 
 
NASA says that the Perseids have been observed for about 2,000 years.  The source of the annual meteor shower is the debris trail left behind comet Swift-Tuttle.  Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. 


Most of the Perseid meteors that we observe now were ejected from Swift-Tuttle about 1,000 years ago. Marshall’s meteor camera network captured some of the meteors or "shooting stars" during the peak. 


You can tell if a meteor belongs to a particular shower by tracing back its path to see if it originates near a specific point in the sky, called the radiant. The constellation in which the radiant is located gives the shower its name, and in this case, Perseids appear to come from a point in the constellation Perseus. 


IMAGE CREDIT: NASA/MSFC/Meteoroid Environment Office