Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that
star? Get the answers from mySKY--a
fun new astronomy helper from Meade.
WATCH: Earth is entering a high-speed solar wind stream,
and this is causing high-latitude geomagnetic storms. Sky watchers
from Scandinavia to Alaska should be
alert for auroras tonight.
PERSEID FIREBALLS: The Perseid
meteor shower is underway. Don't panic, the
peak doesn't occur until August 12th and 13th, but already 10+
shooting stars per hour may be seen during the dark hours before
dawn. Two nights ago, artist Mark
Seibold was checking the sky from his front yard in Oregon when
he witnessed a colorful Perseid fireball:
"It appeared as if a child had thrown an orange 4th of July
sparkler across the sky for perhaps 30 to 40 degrees. It easily
outshown the orange sodium-vapor streetlights in the neighborhood
which I rendered below in the foreground," says Seibold.
Perseid Meteor Gallery
THE VIEW FROM ABOVE:
Astronauts onboard the ISS and shuttle Endeavour will watch the
Perseid meteor shower from above. What will that be like? In 2001,
space shuttle Discovery (STS-105) orbited Earth during a Perseid
shower, and the crew recorded this
NASA video of a Perseid hitting Earth's atmosphere. Astronauts
onboard the ISS have also enjoyed Leonid meteor storms from orbit:
METEOR RADAR: The University
of Western Ontario operates a 17-38 MHz meteor
orbit radar. Pictured below is their sky map of activity on
The bright, circled blobs denote meteor radiants--i.e.,
regions of sky where many meteors are emerging. On August 8th, the
radiant of the Southern
Delta Aquarid meteor shower (a relatively minor shower caused
by an unknown comet) was actually more active than the Perseids.
This will change in the days ahead as the Perseids intensify and
the delta Aquarids subside. Stay tuned for updates.
Notes: The horizontal and vertical axes of the radar
map are standard astronomical coordinates, right ascension (RA)
and declination (dec). The long snake-like feature labeled RFI is
an artefact of radio frequency interference from a terrestrial radio
station near 17 MHz.
Noctilucent Cloud Gallery