sábado, 10 de agosto de 2013

NASA Chat: Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Perseids! (meteor shower peaks on the night of Aug. 11-12.)


Larger meteoroids cause bright flashes of light when they hit Earth's atmosphere, such as this fireball caught during the Perseid meteor shower Aug. 12, 2006. The bulk of meteoric activity is much less showy: Some 10 to 40 tons of meteor dust enter our atmosphere every day.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Pierre Martin to NASA
Enjoy a summer evening of sky watching! The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on the night of Aug. 11-12. Rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky. Early in the evening, a waxing crescent moon will interfere slightly with this year's show, but it will have set by the time of the best viewing, just before dawn. The best opportunity to see Perseids is during the dark, pre-dawn hours of Aug. 12.

On the night of Aug. 10-11 -- the night before the shower's peak -- join NASA in a live Web chat to watch the Perseids. NASA astronomer Bill Cooke and Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office at Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions. To join, return to this page on Aug. 10 from 11 p.m. - 3 a.m. EDT, then log in to join the chat. (Convert to your local time here)

Live Ustream View 

Below is a live broadcast of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Perseid meteor shower has started, peaking on the night of Aug. 11-12. The live feed is an alternative for stargazers caught with bad weather or light-polluted night skies. The camera activates at full dusk (approx. 9 p.m. EDT). During the day you will either see a dark gray box or pre-recorded footage.

Live streaming video by Ustream
› Go the the Marshall Space Flight Center Ustream channel

How to See Perseid Meteors
For optimal viewing, find an open sky because Perseid meteors come across the sky from all directions. Lie on the ground and look straight up into the dark sky. Again, it is important to be far away from artificial lights. Your eyes can take up to 30 minutes to adjust to the darkness, so allow plenty of time for your eyes to dark-adapt.

About the Perseids
The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust -- most over 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

Do You Have Photos of Perseid Meteors?
If you have some stellar images of the Perseid meteor shower, please consider adding them to the Perseid Meteors group in Flickr. Who knows - your images may attract interest from the media and receive international exposure.

More About Chat Expert Bill Cooke
The head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, Dr. Bill Cooke specializes in the meteoroid environment and its effects on space vehicles of all sorts. While a graduate student at the University of Florida, he worked on instruments flying onboard balloons, the Space Shuttle, Giotto (European mission to Halley's Comet), and the Long Duration Exposure Facility. After obtaining his PhD, he came to work at Marshall Space Flight Center as a member of the Space Environments Team. When not occupied with meteor observations and shower forecasts, he dabbles as a free- lance author for magazines and is a mentor for the Team America Rocketry Challenge and NASA's Student Launch Initiative rocketry programs.

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