LIVE STREAM: Stunnning View of Perseid Meteor Shower

By  //  August 11, 2013

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IN full glory between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. tonight

The Perseid meteor shower will light up the skies tonight and NASA will live stream the comic debris in its full glory between 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. ET tonight. The footage of the meteors will be broadcast through NASA’s Slooh Space Camera, which is a robotic camera that can be viewed online.

Live streaming video by Ustream

NASA’s meteor experts Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw will be available for a chat to answer all questions regarding this year’s Perseid meteor shower. According to NASA, up to 100 meteorites can be seen at the peak of the shower.

TIPS FROM NASA TO ENJOY THE CELESTIAL SHOW 

Whether you’re watching live from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars. Those streaks of light are really caused by tiny specks of comet-stuff hitting Earth’s atmosphere at very high speed and disintegrating in flashes of light.

First a word about the moon – it is not the meteor watcher’s friend. Light reflecting off a bright moon can be just as detrimental to good meteor viewing as those bright lights of the big city. There is nothing you can do except howl at the moon, so you’ll have to put up with it or wait until the next favorable shower.

SPACE-435-144The best thing you can do to maximize the number of meteors you’ll see is to get as far away from urban light pollution as possible and find a location with a clear, unclouded view of the night sky. If you enjoy camping, try planning a trip that coincides with dates of one of the meteor showers listed below. Once you get to your viewing location, search for the darkest patch of sky you can find, as meteors can appear anywhere overhead.

The meteors will always travel in a path away from the constellation for which the shower is named. This apparent point of origin is called the “radiant.” For example, meteors during a Leonid meteor shower will appear to originate from the constellation Leo.

(Note: the constellation only serves as a helpful guide in the night’s sky. The constellation is not the actual source of the meteors. For an overview of what causes meteor showers click here: Meteor Showers: Shooting for Shooting Stars)

Lastly, put away the telescope or binoculars. Using either reduces the amount of sky you can see at one time, lowering the odds that you’ll see anything but darkness. Instead, let your eyes hang loose and don’t look in any one specific spot. Relaxed eyes will quickly zone in on any movement up above, and you’ll be able to spot more meteors. Avoid looking at your cell phone or any other light. Both destroy night vision. If you have to look at something on Earth, use a red light. Some flashlights have handy interchangeable filters. If you don’t have one of those, you can always paint the clear filter with red fingernail polish.

PERSEIDS STATS

• Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
• Radiant: constellation Perseus
• Active: July 17-Aug. 24, 2013
• Peak Activity: Aug. 11-12, 2013
• Peak Activity Meteor Count: Up to 60 meteors per hour
• Meteor Velocity: 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second

NOTES: The Perseids is known as one of the best meteor showers to observe, and this year is no different. A crescent moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving dark skies from late night until dawn. The Perseids are typically fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains.


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