Sun, 13 Aug 2017 (4 days ago)
Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Meteor Showers feed
The Perseid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on 13 August 2017. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from 23 Jul to 20 Aug.
The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 80 per hour (ZHR). However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this, and can be calculated from the ZHR formula.
From Ashburn (click to change), the radiant of the shower will appear 25° above your north-eastern horizon at midnight. This means you are likely to see only around 34 meteors per hour, since the radiant will be low in the sky, reducing the chance of seeing meteors.
The radiant of the Perseid meteor shower is at around right ascension 03h00m, declination +58°, as shown by the green cross on the planetarium above. All of the meteors will appear to be travelling directly outward from this point, as indicated by the white lines drawn above.
The Moon will be 21 days old at the time of peak activity, presenting significant interference in the pre-dawn sky.
To see the most meteors, the best place to look is not directly at the radiant itself, but at any dark patch of sky which is around 30–40° away from it. It is at a distance of around this distance from the radiant that meteors will show reasonably long trails without being too spread out.
|The sky on 13 August 2017|
All times shown in EDT.
The Handbook of the British Astronomical Association.
An artistic depiction of the Leonid meteor storm seen over North America on the night of November 12-13, 1833, Edmund Weiss