Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MINOR METEOR SHOWER PEAKS TONIGHT

The annual Southern Delta Aquariid meteor shower, caused by debris from Comet 96P/Machholz, peaks tonight with a forecast maximum of 15 to 20 meteors per hour. The geometry of the shower's radiant in Aquarius favors observers in the southern hemisphere, but northerners can see some too. NASA plans to stream the display from an observing site at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Live video begins on July 29th at 9:30 pm EDT. Also, you can try listening to the Southern Delta Aquariids on Space Weather Radio.

Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the peak of the shower is not expected until August, meteors are already flitting acrosss the night sky. On July 27th, NASA cameras caught this Perseid fireball flying over New Mexico:



Over the weekend, NASA detected a total of six Perseid fireballs, a "micro-flurry" that signals the beginning of the annual display. Normally the best time to watch would be during the shower's peak: August 11th through 13th. This year, however, the supermoon will cast an interfering glare across the nights of maximum activity, reducing visibility from 120 meteors per hour (the typical Perseid peak rate) to less than 30. Instead, late July-early August might be the best time to watch as Earth plunges deeper into the debris stream before the Moon becomes full.

If you go out meteor watching in the nights ahead, you'll likely see another shower, too: the Southern Delta Aquariids. Produced by debris from Comet 96P/Machholz, this shower peaks on July 29-30 with 15 to 20 meteors per hour. This is considered to be a minor shower, but rich enough in fireballs to merit attention. NASA will stream the display from an observing site at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. Live video begins on July 29th at 9:30 pm EDT.

No comments:

Post a Comment