View Full Version : Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

08-11-2009, 05:01 PM
From NWS Norman:

From -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids (

PERSEID UPDATE: The Perseid meteor shower is about to peak. The show begins after sunset on Tuesday, August 11th, and continues until dawn on Wednesday, August 12th. During the long night, sky watchers could see dozens of meteors per hour. (continued below)

A time of particular interest is 0800 UT (1 am PDT) on August 12th. That's when Earth is expected to pass through a denser-than-usual filament of dust from the shower's parent Comet Swift-Tuttle. For an hour or so, rates could surge to 200 per hour. Bright moonlight will blot out many of those Perseids, but even a fraction of 200 is a good show.

Not every light that streaks across the night sky is a Perseid. Some of them are spy satellites. Here's one gliding over Maghaberry, Northern Ireland, on August 10th:

"It was Lacrosse 3," reports photographer John McConnell. "Spaceweather's Simple Satellite Tracker predicted a flyby and there it was."

Lacrosse 3 is a top-secret yet easily observed US National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite. It often attracts attention when sunlight glints brightly from its solar panels, rumored to span 45 meters from tip to tip. The solar arrays power a synthetic aperture radar, which can image Earth's surface with meter-resolution even through clouds. Some web sites claim that the radar can also sense objects underground, but that's just speculation.

"I couldn't mistake Lacrosse 3 because it was so bright," says McConnell. "This is even better than Perseids!"

08-12-2009, 11:28 PM
Some pretty good ones tonight. Clouds moving in, so the viewing is going to get cut short it seems.

08-13-2009, 12:27 AM
We saw quite a few but not what I thought! oh well, it was a nice evening sitting out with the family anyway.