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Perseid shower reaches peak this weekend

@richmondoutside
August 8, 2012 9:15am

“This weekend, the sky will be ablaze with thousands of magnificent white streaks of light in what is known as the Perseids meteor shower,” reports Outdoorhub.com. “Although the annual shower has been active for some time now, late night on Saturday, August 11 or early morning on Sunday, August 12 will be the best times to view it.”

The meteor shower is a result of the debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. The comet was discovered 150 years ago by Americans Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, but it wasn’t until 1867 that Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli noticed that the Persied meteor shower was a result of Earth passing through the comet’s orbit.

The meteor shower is visible within most of the constellation Perseus, therefore it is called the Perseid meteor shower. Look toward the northeast part of the sky for a constellation that looks like an inverted “Y.” Lucky for you outdoorsmen and women, the moon will be in its waning crescent phase and should not inhibit your view.

The best place to see the meteor shower is away from city lights. A vantage point in Shenandoah National Park, for instance, would really do the meteor shower justice. Pocahontas State Park won’t offer quite as much darkness but could be a more realistic option for most Central Virginians.


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?


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