Ellen Miller at the Science Recorder gives stargazers a heads up – the meteor viewing season has arrived:
…Late July to early August [are] widely regarded as the best time to view meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere. The peak viewing is in mid-August, but meteors can be observed up to that point with more regularity than during the rest of the year. This year will be an excellent year for the famous Perseid meteor shower, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The moon will set before midnight on the peak nights of August 11 and 12, leading to darker skies which help observers view the meteors more clearly. Stargazers are also more likely to see twice as many meteors in the predawn hours than in the late evening, thanks to the Earth’s orbital motion through space. A shooting star is created when an object enters the Earth’s atmosphere at a high rate of speed, creating heat, light and ionization as its energy dissipates. During the months of July and August, meteors peak, with at least six different meteor showers occurring during that time frame. Five of the six main showers occur near the constellations Aquarius and Capricornus, which are highest in the sky between 1 AM EST and 3 AM EST.