Meteor shower likely to be good, won’t be eclipsed by moon

Stars seen as streaks from a long camera exposure are seen behind Arnotegui Hermitage, in Obanos, northern Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The meteor shower is expected to peak Wednesday night into Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

WASHINGTON (AP) — People looking for a shooting star to wish upon may find Wednesday overnight to be a dream come true.

Celestial timing will help people see more of the oldest meteor shower known to Earth, the Perseids, when they peak 3 a.m. local Thursday, according to astronomers.

That’s “because the moon is almost new and there’s no moonlight to mess with the show,” said NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke. The last time the Perseids (pur-SEE’-uhdz) peaked with little moonlight was 2007.

If the weather is good, expect one shooting star a minute, maybe more, said Cooke.

The skies will be clear for an unusually large section of the United States, said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters. Much of the East, Midwest and far West will be almost cloudless. But the forecast isn’t as nice for Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Utah and Idaho.

The sky show is pieces of comet Swift-Tuttle hitting Earth’s atmosphere at more than 133,000 mph and burning up. The best way to watch is to lie down and look up — no telescopes needed.

Meteor showers just touch people in a special way, said planetary scientist Sheila Kanani of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

“For a lot of people, it’s a make-a-wish kind of mentality,” Kanani said. “There’s something quite romantic about a meteor shower.”

If your skies aren’t clear or there’s too much light, NASA is broadcasting the Perseids from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. EDT with Cooke and other experts explaining what’s happening in the skies.

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov

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Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

  • Itchy

    Too cool!!

    • EricL

      Every time I haul my sleepy @$$ out of bed it is cloudy for these things… hopefully this will be different.

      • Itchy

        same here

  • Dakota Rose Paris

    Years ago I remember sitting out in a backyard in a rural area watching the meteor showers. It was glorious. We who live in modern society where it is never dark can’t even imagine what our ancestors saw when they looked up into their night sky. They had blessings we will never really know in our technology driven societies.

    • Odd Ball

      We moved into our current house in central Prince William county over 15 years ago-used to be able to see the Milky Way and was very quite, now everything is in a wash of lights and lots of traffic noise. :-/

  • Dakota Rose Paris

    Reply to Odd Ball – It will be forever thus. When I was young, scientists were all excited about what satellites could do. One idea was to put mirrors up in space so that they could reflect light back onto Earth so that there wouldn’t be any more night anywhere. Don’t ask me how it was supposed to work, but more sensible heads prevailed. Night is necessary to many species, including our own, frankly. I don’t know how people live in those countries where it is daytime 6 months out of the year.

    • Cybrsk8r

      In Alaska, they have what they call “black-out panels”. The panels completely block light coming thru windows to allow people to sleep on a normal cycle.

  • Dakota Rose Paris

    Reply to Cybrsk8r – I would have to get some of those curtains. I love the night. I love the day. I don’t want 24 hours of either. Twelve of each is about right.



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