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Perseids Meteor Shower
August 11, 2010 4:16 PM   Subscribe

The Perseids Meteor shower will peak Thursday night through early Friday morning. Use the Dark Sky Finder to find a good place to watch. The Perseids is visible every year, but it's easier to see during the new moon.

Follow the International Meteor Association on Twitter for more information, or watch the #meteorwatch hashtag-- just don't let looking at your cell phone light spoil your night vision.

Previously on Metafilter, some links via AskMe and Lifehacker.
posted by NoraReed (30 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's gonna be flippin' foggy just like it's been flippin' foggy all flippin' summer. I suppose we could drive out to the Central Valley or something, but gah. Stupid fog.
posted by rtha at 4:18 PM on August 11, 2010


But, GRAR aside, thank you for the post!
posted by rtha at 4:19 PM on August 11, 2010


It's a poor substitute, rtha, but maybe some photos will tide you over 'til the next one?
posted by NoraReed at 4:21 PM on August 11, 2010


ARGH I never manage to haul my lazy ass out to Southold for this, I always end up freezing my ass off for the Leonids instead. I AM A FAILURE.
posted by elizardbits at 4:25 PM on August 11, 2010


Thanks to AskMetaFilter I'm currently out in Big Bend National Park awaiting the show. We made camp last night and the skies were crystal clear and so full of stars that we couldn't tell if we were looking at the Milky Way or a low hanging white puffy bit of cloud.

There have already been some amazing fireworks in the sky. Last night a meteor streaked straight down between "the Window" (the western gap of the basin in the Chisos Mountains. It was so bright that my friend gasped and I saw the flash even though I was looking away from the point to the east. It lingered so long - a bright slice of light in the sky - that I was able to see it even though I had to turn my head 180 degrees.

I am not going to try to capture any on film though. So I'm sorry I can't promise tantalizing footage from a completely dark location. Trying to do that would distract me too much from the amazing surroundings. The cool, breezy night; the high mountain walls surrounding us; the cup of cocoa in my lap.

God this is perfect. Thank you, MeFi! Without your help I'd never be here about to witness something truly amazing!
posted by greekphilosophy at 4:55 PM on August 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


Driving up to a friend's house in NH to camp overnight and enjoy the show.

Very excited!
posted by rbellon at 4:59 PM on August 11, 2010


Same problem as we're having with the aurora of late: rain rain rain. Briefly relenting this afternoon but clouded over once again. Oh well.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:13 PM on August 11, 2010


My boy scout troop used to plan our annual 50-Miler hike out into the Gila Wilderness for the second week of August so we would be able to watch the Perseids far from man-made lights. There were some pretty spectacular light shows some years, other years didn't seem to be that great. But it was cool that we always tried to plan that trip to make viewing possible.

greekphilosophy: Big Bend, eh? How wonderful. Eat a javelina for me. :P
posted by hippybear at 5:30 PM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good on ya greekphilosophy. I've been to Big Bend, though not at Perseids time, and it is gorgeous country. On your way out swing by Eve's Garden bed & breakfast in Marathon -- some truly remarkable homegrown papercrete architecture there.
posted by localroger at 5:33 PM on August 11, 2010


Nice post! This is really exciting. Gonna spend all day savin' up wishes!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:38 PM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


We have reasonably dark skies where I live - certainly as good as can be expected for being this close to DC - but it's been cloudy since last night, and will probably remain cloudy through tomorrow night :(

Saw them a couple of years ago at Smith Mountain Lake though - good, dark skies there, thankfully free of clouds, and plenty of Manhattans to enjoy :)
posted by kcds at 6:43 PM on August 11, 2010


I forgot about the perseids, but thought I saw some meteors the last couple of nights, lying outside talking to my bf under the stars.

But, it was really hazy, so it was hard to discern very much anyway, so it could've easily been my imagination. I will be looking slightly more northeast than straight up tonight, though.
posted by rubah at 7:18 PM on August 11, 2010


What will Saturday night be like? Will I still be able to see any? (DC area)
posted by inigo2 at 7:21 PM on August 11, 2010


Yes. The Perseids shower generally has about a 4-week duration with a 1-2 night peak. It starts slow, builds up, and then eases off. If you can get away from city lights, chances are there will be meteors to see.
posted by hippybear at 7:53 PM on August 11, 2010


I'm going to try to get out 3 am on Sunday morning (God willing it doesn't rain).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:48 PM on August 11, 2010


Woo. Thanks.
posted by peeedro at 9:14 PM on August 11, 2010


I have driven from DC to Assateague Island National Seashore for the past several years for the Perseids. Watching in the dark on the beach - with the surf pounding in the background - is fantastic, despite the Ocean City light pollution to the north.

Alas, this year it won't happen, but perhaps that's a good thing since it's supposed to remain cloudy.
posted by gemmy at 9:33 PM on August 11, 2010


Driving up from Richmond, VA to Baltimore, MD tomorrow night.

Yeah, I'm basically screwed. Sigh.
posted by CommonSense at 9:41 PM on August 11, 2010


Every time a meteor shower occurs, it rains here. It's calling for rain again this time. Gah, it drives me crazy. I'm still going to try. "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day." Here's to you Perry Como.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:08 PM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It got cloudy tonight here (Central New Mexico), I'm hoping Friday night is better, since I'll be busy seeing Scott Pilgrim at peak meteor time tomorrow.
posted by NoraReed at 1:09 AM on August 12, 2010


I'm taking the day off tomorrow just so that I can watch this. Sky shows are the best. Good links!

Sometimes you can HEAR the really big ones, and they can leave visible smoke trails. They sound like a sheet being torn. I've got my red LED headlamp so I can function without wrecking my night vision, a nice comfy lounge chair in my (very dark) backyard and I'm really, really looking forward to this.

I'll be alone, and it's tough, when you see something dazzling, not to make a lot of noise. But I'll be good... or at least I'll try.

If things get wild, thick and fast, though, anything can happen...
posted by kinnakeet at 5:59 AM on August 12, 2010


Damn, down in Pittsburgh I have to drive at least two hours to get to a prime viewing area. Back at my parents' house in Maine... ten minutes.
posted by UrbanEye at 7:43 AM on August 12, 2010


Sometimes you can HEAR the really big ones

I was going to comment on this. I think that the sound takes place in my imagination. Is there really sound, or is our brain supplying it?
posted by Danf at 8:19 AM on August 12, 2010


so so cloudy :(
posted by zeoslap at 8:37 AM on August 12, 2010


NASA's FLUXTIMATOR applet will estimate the number of meteors you could see based on where you are.
posted by DakotaPaul at 8:56 AM on August 12, 2010


Every year I forget about this - you'd think it was my wife's birthday or something - and I scramble to find somewhere to watch it from that is in reasonable driving distance. This year I again forgot about it but luckily I'm on vacation and (sonofabitch!) only 31 km from the world's oldest dark sky preserve at the 1873 meter high Mt Kobau with clear weather forecast tonite.

IOW - Oh hell yes.
posted by vapidave at 9:29 AM on August 12, 2010


Cloudy here in Amsterdam :(
posted by Sutekh at 12:56 PM on August 12, 2010


Heading out to Long Beach, WA tomorrow for the weekend... hopefully we'll be able to see the shower there. Maybe I should pull rank on the life-mate and insist we drive up to Rattlesnake Ridge tonight, just to be on the safe side...
posted by palomar at 4:11 PM on August 12, 2010


greekphilosophy: You're in Big Bend! YES! When you return, you must update your AskMe with all the details!
posted by Houstonian at 7:33 PM on August 12, 2010


Perseid Storm
posted by homunculus at 2:33 PM on August 21, 2010


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