Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Perseids' meteor shower seen starting Monday night | Manila Bulletin


‘Perseids’ meteor shower seen starting Monday night


August 9, 2009, 8:55pm

Prepare your wish list for they may come true.

The famous “Perseids” meteor shower will be seen starting Monday night, August10, until Friday, August 14, peaking on the late night of Wednesday, August12, until dawn of August 13, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.

PAGASA said that it expects clear skies to prevail from tomorrow, Aug.11 until Thursday, Aug. 13, in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, giving residents a big chance to witness the spectacular meteor shower.

Many believe that their wish will come true if it is whispered when they see a “shooting star” or “meteor shower.”

“August is one of the most popular times of the year to observe meteor showers,” PAGASA Director Prisco Nilo said. Nilo also said that “occasionally, an exceptional shower may show tens or even hundreds of meteors per minute, but around 50 meteors per hour are more typical.”

“The Perseids meteor shower radiate out from the constellation Perseus, located in the eastern horizon during August,” Nilo said, in its astronomical diary.

“The Perseids meteor shower is the most reliable one, which is best seen during Aug. 10-14 every year. Under most favorable clear sky condition, there may be 60 to 100 meteors per hour,” he explained.

But he added that “the Last Quarter Moon will hinder observations of meteors,” saying that meteors in a shower appear to come from one area of the sky.

The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, said: “Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle.”

“The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when the Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud, and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it passes by the Sun.”

The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2,000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the Far East. In early medieval Europe, the Perseids came to be known as the ‘tears of St. Lawrence.’

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