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TOPIC: Perseid meteor shower


L

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RE: Perseid meteor shower
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L

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Some researchers think that 2004-06 might see a return of the primary peak around 18h30m UT on August 12, best-viewed from a zone running from the Near East to east Asia, including Japan; and a smaller peak around 3h UT on August 13 that would be visible over the North Atlantic Ocean (from the extreme west of both Europe and North Africa westwards to the eastern seaboard of North America and northern South America).
But watch out for extra peaks!



Mikiya Sato in Japan calculates that that the Earth may pass through a stream of material that was shed from Swift-Tuttle in the year 1479, at around 08:58 UT August 12th. Last year's Perseid shower displayed a very strong extra peak due to a similar streamer shed by the comet in 1862.



At mid-northern latitudes, the 40% illuminated Moon will set at around 11-p.m on Aug. 11.
For North America observers the peak activity is predicted to occur during daylight hours, though there is a chance to catch some during the predawn hours of Friday, Aug. 12 and again during the early morning hours of Saturday.
For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near twenty-five for Northern Hemisphere observers and fifteen for those located in the Southern Hemisphere.

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L

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This year the Perseids will peak at 18:00 UT on August 12 and occur over Asia. There maybe another smaller peak near 3:00 UT.
The best views will usually occur about an hour before morning twilight, when Perseus lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. This is usually between the hours of 0400 and 0500 local daylight time for most people.

The characteristic Perseid is a bright white or yellow meteor lasting less than a half second. The brighter meteors usually leave a persistent ionized gas "smoke trail" that lasts a second or two after the meteor has vanished.


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Mars joins the Perseid meteor shower for a beautiful display on August 12th, 2005.
The Perseids come every year, beginning in late July and stretching
into August.
Sky watchers outdoors at the right time can see colourful fireballs, occasional outbursts and, almost always, long hours of gracefully streaking meteors. Among the many nights of the shower, there is always one night that is best. This year: August 12th.

The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is nowhere near Earth, the comet's orbit and debris does intersect Earth's orbit.
The Earth passes through it every year in July and August. Tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth's atmosphere travelling 211,000 mph. At that speed, even a tiny smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light - a meteor - when it disintegrates. The shower is most intense when Earth is in the dustiest part of the tail; expect to see around 60 per hour.



Perseid meteors fly out of the constellation Perseus, hence their name.
The best time to watch is during the hours before sunrise when Perseus is high in the sky. Between 2 a.m. and dawn on August 12th, if you get away from city lights, you could see hundreds of meteors. There may be interference from moonlight this year ( the moon is full on the 19th)
In the constellation Aries, right beside Perseus, Mars is shining like a bright red star. Step outside before sunrise, look east.
Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter on October 30th.
Mars already outshines every star in the night sky, and it's getting brighter every night.
Mark your calendar and don't miss the show.

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