Perseid meteor shower: Best times to see the 'shooting stars'
Perseid meteor shower fans should go out Wednesday and Thursday a.m. to avoid the glare from the moon. The Perseid meteor shower peak is Aug. 13.
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The 2011 Perseid meteor shower viewing table here shows prime skywatching times for some selected US cities. All times are a.m. and are local daylight times. "Dawn" is the time when morning (astronomical) twilight begins. "Window" is the number of minutes between the time of moonset and the start of twilight.Skip to next paragraph
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Here's an example: When will the sky be dark and moonless for Perseid viewing on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 10 from Houston? Answer: there will be an 89-minute period of dark skies beginning at moonset (3:49 a.m.) and continuing until dawn breaks (5:18 a.m.).
Perhaps up to a dozen or so forerunners of the main Perseid display might appear to steak by within an hour's watch on these mornings.
In the absence of moonlight a single observer might see up to 100 meteors per hour on the peak night, a number that sadly cannot be hoped to be approached in 2011.
In fact, it appears that this year, Perseid fans will be uttering the same lament that the old Dodger fans in Brooklyn used to: "Wait till next year!"
Editor's note: If you snap an amazing photo of a Perseid meteor this year and would like to share it with SPACE.com for a possible story or gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at: email@example.com.
Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York's Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for The New York Times and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, New York.
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