Perseid Meteor Shower Underway – Saturday 9:15 p.m.

THE PERSEID METEOR SHOWER IS UNDERWAY: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Worldwide observers are now reporting more than 30 Perseids per hour, a number that could triple during the weekend when Earth reaches the heart of the debris zone. Forecasters recommend looking during the dark hours before dawn, especially Sunday morning, August 12th, when activity is expected to be highest.

Got clouds? Tune into SpaceWeather Radio for live echoes from Perseid meteors flying over the US Space Surveillance Radar in Texas.

The multi-station Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar, sponsored by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, is also monitoring the Perseids. Live data are available here. Bright spots in this sample radar sky map show the radiants of currently active showers:

 

Clearly, the Perseids are not the only meteors in the sky this weekend. The Northern and Southern Delta Aquarids (NDA and SDA) are also active. These showers, which are minor compared to the Perseids, spring from 96P/Machholz, a comet that some researchers suspect is a visitor from another star system.

This is a great weekend for watching meteors–but that’s not all. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon are lining up in the pre-dawn sky right in the middle of the Perseid display. The conjunction of planets guarantees that you will see something beautiful even in the unlikely event that the shower fizzles. Sky maps: Aug. 11, 12, 13.

Realtime Perseid Photo Gallery

It’s only natural, while you’re watching a meteor shower like the Perseids, to count the number of shooting stars you see.  It turns out those numbers in your head are valuable.  NASA wants them.  Meteor tallies gathered by amateur sky watchers can be used by NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office to study and model the Perseid debris stream.

“We’ve developed an app for Android and iPhones to help amateur sky watchers count meteors in a scientific way and report the results to us,” says Cooke. “It’s called the ‘Meteor Counter’ and it’s available for free in the Android Marketplace and Apple’s App Store.”

For more news about the night sky and citizen science, please visit science.nasa.gov.

Meteor Counter app — for iPhones

Meteor Counter app — for Android

Courtesy: SpaceWeather.com & science.nasa.gov

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Nice Weekend Continues, Gives Way to Rain Chances – Saturday 7:55 p.m.

We have had a very nice and beautiful Saturday and our Sunday is setting up to be much of the same. High pressure and a dry airmass have moved in and are keeping our temperatures down and the skies clear for a couple of days.

Beginning Sunday night we will begin to see some southerly return but it’s likely that the best moisture will hold off until Monday and will bring in showers and storms by Monday afternoon. There are some timing issues between the models beginning Monday and lasting through the rest of the week, so overall confidence on the exact timing of the system is low, however confidence on the overall synoptic pattern is high.

As the main trough remains over the eastern half of the area we will once again see several waves of energy slide down and around the trough bringing several more rounds of weather through the end of the week, much like this past week. Finally by next weekend another strong cold front will try to work through the area and clear us out by next Sunday into Monday. Overall near normal temperatures can be expected with near to even above normal rain chances.

Join me for the latest on your forecast and the tropics tonight on WVUA News at 10.

Daniel Sparkman
dsparkman@wvuatv.com
WVUA Weather