Perseid Meteor Shower Peak
August 12, 2006 12:59 PM   Subscribe

The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak in intensity tonight. The product of Earth intersecting with the debris trail from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the shower should be most dramatic shortly before dawn. More information on the shower can be found in various places.

Those living far away from cities will have the best view, but there are lots of good photos from past showers online for those immersed in city light, or blanketed under cloud.
posted by sindark (18 comments total)
You can also check out MeFi posts about this from 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
posted by sindark at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2006

Looking at photos of meteor showers is about as much fun as watching bowling on TV. Ya gotta be there to feel the crunch, man!

Besides, the Perseids are so 20th century compared to real shrapnel debris lighting up the sky and whizzin right past your head. I can't wait till virtual reality lets me get both in one bang. Meteor shrapnel right between the eyes! Bing!

But behind the snarkiness, I've seen this meteor shower several times from the deep dark desert. Nice show, 'specially with a glass of wine and...
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 1:10 PM on August 12, 2006

Too bad the waning gibbous moon may make it more difficult to enjoy the showers this year. It won't stop me from sitting on my dark porch—with cold beers—on my mountain side watching anyway.
posted by terrapin at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2006

well i guess i love astronomy because i'd always watch bowling on saturday afternoons when i was a kid.

yeah the nasa page linked from wikipedia flatly states that this year's shower is going to be a dud.

Nice show, 'specially with a glass of wine and...

...a finger full of poo? oh. Pooflinger... sorry.
posted by joeblough at 1:21 PM on August 12, 2006

Plan your meteor watch for 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 12. The Moon won't be up yet and, in the darkness just after sunset, a special kind of meteor may appear: the Perseid Earthgrazer.

Well, that will work for me. Can't stay up late, late anymore, so dud or not this year, I plan on imbibing something alcoholic and taking the dog out to lie in the grass and look up...

As a kid, my mother encouraged us to watch the "meteor showers" every August, and if I recall, she also enjoyed a drink or three whilst watching. It's a lovely way to spend a summer night.
posted by Savannah at 1:27 PM on August 12, 2006


I hadn't seen that NASA page. Definitely an unfortunate piece of news.
posted by sindark at 1:28 PM on August 12, 2006

Meteor shower, or PRELUDE TO INVASION?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:07 PM on August 12, 2006

Wish I could see stars here. Well, more than the handful that are visible anyway. I'd have to drive a pretty good ways to avoid the light pollution too. Ah well.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 4:28 PM on August 12, 2006

Meteor shower, or PRELUDE TO INVASION?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Don't worry. The TSA has banned liquids and gels from entering the atmosphere, and has stationed the National Guard at all craters to make sure the Terrorists don't win.
posted by eriko at 4:32 PM on August 12, 2006

Too bad about the shower this year, but I'm happy if we get a few dozen new planets out of the Pluto mess and eventual confirmation of those methane lakes on Titan.
posted by mediareport at 4:52 PM on August 12, 2006

Day of the Triffids^

Stay indoors.
posted by cenoxo at 7:54 PM on August 12, 2006

Holy crap! We took the long way home tonight on a whim, and on a back road in salt marsh swamp country we stopped for a moment to look at the stars. I saw one bright streak of a meteor shoot overhead, thought to myself that it reminded me of being out on the lawn with my mom looking at the meteor showers as a kid - and then back in the car, didn't give it a second thought. Had no idea the shower peaked tonight, but I guess I saw a bit anyway.

It really is cool to be so far out in the boonies that there is no light pollution - just miles and miles of stars in the sky.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:55 PM on August 12, 2006

I went outside and looked around a bit, not sure why I bothered. Orange sky to the north, east, and south. Sorta dark and a few stars right above me. Large lights on to the west in ball fields across the road. Oh well. I wish a person could drive just twenty minutes or so and get to a fairly dark area, but it isn't possible. Actually the way little towns have popped up and subdivisions in the middle of nowhere, I am not sure that you could drive less than an hour to find any reasonable darkness.

I used to see a lot of stars when I lived barely out of the city, but just in the last ten years it has went from fairly good viewing to almost as bad as it is here in town. Shame.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:17 PM on August 12, 2006

The moon killed some of the fun, but there were a lot of meteors tonight. Insomnia helps with these things.
posted by caddis at 1:28 AM on August 13, 2006

I was watching a movie on a rooftop in NYC last night and kept seeing streaks behind the screen, in the distance, and thought something was wrong with my contacts (or my brain).

This explains quite a bit.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:41 AM on August 13, 2006

Some years ago a girlfriend brought this up, and what started as a superficial conversation turned into a major trek with blankets and food and beer and a drive out into the country so we could get a good look at it, and by the time we did all that, got the blankets spread out on the ground and lit the kinda candles that are supposed to keep bugs away and opened up the beers and wondered at the other crazy people who'd also parked their cars just a distance away to take in the Perseids... it occurred to me she went through all that trouble for the sole purpose of snuggling with me for five hours under the stars. Hell, we coulda done that in my apartment! But she wanted to do it under the Perseids. ...good times. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 10:02 AM on August 13, 2006

Next best show: the Leonids. Saw these in November 2001 and they were spectacular.
posted by cenoxo at 6:35 PM on August 13, 2006

here in the 510 there was too much fog last night, so no meteors for me.

i'm still waiting for one of those meteor showers that's more like a storm. i guess i've used up all my astro-karma. hale-bopp and hyakutake were incredible comets and that's probably going to have to hold me for this lifetime, astronomy-wise.
posted by joeblough at 10:11 PM on August 13, 2006

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