WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Star-gazers treated to meteor showers

Posted July 27, 2012

A particularly bright meteoroid (Credit: Lunar Science Institute)

As Earth makes its way around the sun, it encounters a number of comets each year, passing through debris in the comet tails. Those sand-sized particles enter the Earth's atmosphere, creating a fiery trail over 50 miles up, creating a meteor shower.

Two meteor showers will be visible, weather permitting of course, over the coming weeks: the Delta Aquarids and Perseids.

The Delta Aquarids have been somewhat visible since early July but will peak this weekend with 15-20 meteors per hour predicted. The view will be between the time between moonset at 12:30 a.m. and before dawn. Look to the South in the constellation Aquarius. This constellation can be found by looking above the bright star Fomalhaut in the southern sky. Meteoroids radiating to the east, west and
north are expected to be the most visible.

The Persieds, radiating from the constellation Perseus, began earlier this week but won't peak until Aug. 13-14. If you are out looking this weekend, It's worth a look to the North to the spot below the up-ended W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. Don't expect much there this weekend, but in two weeks up to 60 meteoroids per hour are predicted.

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