Aug 11, 2009 | 31
The next couple nights—between midnight and 5 A.M.—will be the best opportunities to crane your neck upward and check out the Perseid meteor shower.
The shower, which happens every year when Earth passes through the debris trail left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, started in late July and lasts for a few weeks.
This year, although skies are expected to be clear through much of the Midwest and West, the moon is waning gibbous (still nearly three quarters full) and will be rising at about 10 P.M., just before the meteor action heats up over North America (about midnight, continuing on into the wee hours of Wednesday and Thursday).
But that's no reason to stay indoors, say some experts. "Every once in awhile," Joe Rao of SPACE.com, noted in a post today, "a Perseid fireball will blaze forth, bright enough to be quite spectacular and more than capable to attract attention even in bright moonlight."
Nov 24, 2008 | 31
Hundreds of people witnessed a meteor lighting up the evening sky over Edmonton, Alberta, last week, and the spectacular fireball was even caught on tape by unsuspecting videographers. Around 5:30 P.M. MST Thursday, a brilliant streak of light shot across the western Canadian sky, setting meteorite hunters on a chase to find any surviving fragments of the object.
"We're trying to take all the reports and put them together in a meaningful conclusion as to where it might have fallen," Frank Florian, of the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton, told the Edmonton Sun.
Added Alan Hildebrand, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Calgary and leader of the Prairie Meteorite Search project: "It may have been the largest [meteor], or one of the largest that would have occurred over Canada this year." Hildebrand told the Edmonton Journal that the object probably broke into pieces and landed east of Edmonton, near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.
Aug 12, 2008 | 5
If you didn’t get up early this morning to watch, late-night tonight will still be a good opportunity to catch sight of some shooting stars. Every year around this time, the Earth hurtles through the debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, resulting in the so-called Perseid meteor shower. The bits of dust strewn by the passing comet (which is now past the orbit of Uranus, according to NASA) burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, traveling at about 132,000 miles (212,433 kilometers) per hour. These glowing streaks often originate in the direction of the constellation Perseus, hence the shower’s name.
In case you miss this meteoric event as it fizzles out in a few days, the next best time to start looking up for shooting stars will be on November 17, when our planet passes through the neighborhood of the Leonids.
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