Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend

August 7, 2012

It happens every year, the Perseid meteor shower in August.  It’ll peak this Sunday evening:

Jim Todd from OMSI says they will be having their largest star parties of the year Sunday evening:  both at Rooster Rock and Stub Stewart State Parks.  Since he’s the expert, I’ll just quote off his news release:

 “…The Perseid Meteor Shower occurs when the Earth enters the path of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle in its last trip past the Sun. Swift-Tuttle follows a highly eccentric orbit around the Sun with an orbital period of about 130 years. The comet last passed by the Earth in December 1992.  Timing is not precise, but according to the American Meteor Society, the 2012 peak is expected on August 12th at around 9:00 p.m. PDT (0400 hours UT on August 13).  There is some uncertainty, so it’s very worthwhile to observe on either side of this time.  The OMSI Star Parties will be held on the night of August 12 and into the early morning of August 13.  Estimate peak rates for this year’s Perseid is near 60 for those under transparent rural skies. Those under dark but hazy skies should still be able to see 30 to 40 Perseids per hour. Those under urban skies will be lucky to exceed 10 to 20 per hour.  Fortunately, this year will have the waning crescent moon on August 12 and will be a nonfactor for viewing the fainter meteors of the Perseids.  While viewing the Perseids, we will look at the close pairing of Saturn and Mars.  As a bonus, the International Space Station will be visible on the same night….”

Weatherwise, it looks great with clear skies likely over most or all of the Pacific Northwest.  Just low clouds or fog possible at the coast.

Between now and then, well, we’re still in the summer doldrums.  The brief heatwave was exciting, but now it’s just back to the marine clouds & sunshine routine.  The marine layer thins again Friday through the weekend for more sunshine and warmer temps.  Wow…exciting weather…but keep enjoying our pleasant and dry Pacific Northwest summer weather!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen