Keep your eyes open – the Perseid meteor shower will be visible in the night sky Thursday night into Friday morning.
“First of all, you can see meteors every night; [the best time to view is] between midnight to dawn but on the night of Aug. 12 and early Aug. 13 the Perseid meteor shower will allow you to see an extra amount meteors,” said Jane Houston Jones, astronomer and developer of the NASA science podcast.
But to see the shower, viewers need to look up into a dark sky, without street lamps and house lights.
“It’s not that you won’t be able to see any meteors but to see a lot of them you need to drive away from [city lights],” she added.
Luckily Crescenta Valley does not have bright street lights in many of the neighborhoods so Jones said it is possible to see some of the brighter meteors as they streak through the sky.
The meteors can be seen looking into the Northeast sky. They will begin about 11 p.m. on Aug. 12 and the number will increase closer to dawn. This year the shower will occur on a moonless night so the chance is better of seeing more meteors.
“Meteor showers are the debris of a passing comet, or sometimes the debris from a fragmented asteroid. Comets originally formed in the cold outer solar system, while most of rocky asteroids formed in the warmer inner solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. When a comet nears the sun, its icy surface heats up. This causes clouds of gas, dirt and dust to be released, forming a tail of debris that can stretch for millions of miles. As Earth passes near this dusty tail, some of the particles hit our atmosphere. They burn up and we see the result as meteors.
“NASA generates meteor shower forecasts to prevent potential hazards to spacecraft that are launching and orbiting Earth,” according to Jones’ website at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov.
For information, visit Jones’ website and view the podcast. There is an application that can be used to determine the rate of showers viewers should be expected to see at their locations.