• Jeanna Shepard

Perseid Meteor Shower

The long awaited meteor shower of the year is this weekend. The Perseid Meteor Shower, the most popular shower of the year, takes place tomorrow night into Sunday morning. Keep your eyes to the heavens this weekend and through the coming week for shooting stars, meteors passing overhead.

This year's shower could be the best you've seen. The thin moon will set early in the evening this weekend, not interferring with its glare. We've watched the shower fail completely because a full moon hung high in the southern sky during the radiant. That is not happening this weekend, we've got a clear shot at seeing a great show. The best time is after midnight, but any hour of viewing is a pleasure.

Amateur and professional astronomers enjoy this show. The meteors appear to come from the northeastern sky, from the constellation Perseus as it rises in the east late at night. You could see a meteor anywhere. Optimists like to think you can see upwards of 50 meteors in an hour of viewing. To us that is unlikely. Using that number gets everyone's hopes up for disappointment. Just go outside, sit in a favorite beach chair. Let your eyes adjust to the dark. Sip a cold glass of lemonade and enjoy. The longer you are outside, the more fun you'll have.

These meteors are particles of dust from the far distant Comet Swift-Tuttle. The earth crosses into the comet's orbit, it's path every year at this time. There is plenty to read about why we are so fortunate to have about a dozen regularly scheduled meteor showers a year. The Perseids is popular first because of the ideal weather we have and the numbers. There is a far more productive shower in the winter called the Geminids.

Lastly and we've left this fact to the end. We've seen some projections as high as 90 meteors an hour for those living in really dark places. Let us know how many you saw. If the weather doesn't cooperate, any clear night ahead for the next week is going to be a good night.

Sunrise and Sunset
Day Sunrise Sunset
Fri., August 11 5:45 7:47
Sat., August 12 5:46 7:46
Sun., August 13 5:47 7:44
Mon., August 14 5:48 7:43
Tues., August 15 5:49 7:41
Wed., August 16 5:50 7:40
Thurs., August 17 5:51 7:38
Fri., August 18 5:52 7:37
Temperatures and Precipitations
Day Max (Fº) Min (Fº) Inches
August 4 76 62 0.00
August 5 78 67 T
August 6 84 66 0.00
August 7 82 63 T
August 8 75 69 T
August 9 77 66 1.14
August 10 82 62 T


Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 74º F


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