In The Stars
By: Damaris Higgins
The long-awaited astral visitors,
Space-travelling fireflies, lost in the deep ocean of the cosmos…natural firework display, mysterious, mystic meteors,
flashes, almost only in the imagination, an infinitesimal airforce
firing silent tracer-bullets across the wide, infinite abyss of night – C Richard Miles
Over the next few weeks we will have the opportunity to view two meteor showers. The Delta Aquarids happen in July and the Perseids in August.
The Delta Aquarids are usually a steadily rambling meteor shower without a very definite peak from July 18 to Aug. 18. During the nights of July 28th and 29th however, the waxing gibbous moon will set after midnight leaving the hours between moonset and dawn optimal for viewing the meteor shower.
During these nights there can be up to 20 meteors produced per hour. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Aquarius. For a free printable map of the current night sky you can visit www.skymaps.com/downloads.html
The second meteor shower coming up within the next month is the more well known Perseid meteor shower with viewing dates ranging from July 23 – Aug. 22. This shower is reliable, and rich with meteors that fall in many colors. The perseids will peak on the mornings (not the evenings) of Aug. 12 and 13.
The Perseids radiate from the constellation Perseus. The Perseids often peak at 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark sky. The Perseid meteor shower is considered by many people to be the years best shower.
The next time we will have the opportunity to observe a 50 plus per hour meteor shower will be in December during the Geminids shower.
I encourage you to take advantage of the warm summer nights and make an event out of it! Gather up friends, family, the dog, a tent, find a spot to camp away from city lights and make some memories with someone you love, enjoying the show provided on the tapestry of the sky.