back to article Watch hot 'stars' shower ... again. It's Perseid meteor showtime

Glowing meteors streaking across the night sky marks the peak of the annual Perseid meteor shower which is expected to be an even more striking spectacle this year, thanks to Jupiter. The smattering of comet dust from the Swift-Tuttle comet reach Earth every year as both their orbits cross, but every so often the meteors get a …

  1. EddieD

    As usual

    The forecast for Thursday night is overcast, with an option for pissing down.

    Saw them from a remote farm in Eire in 1976 - when they're good, they are spectacular.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: As usual

      Cross fingers - here they're saying 'partly cloudy' and 'clear' by 4am. Could be a good night to get insomnia.

      1. Pedigree-Pete
        Unhappy

        Holiday

        Shame, I have a 350 mile drive on Friday. Hopefully, we'll get clear skies when we get there and I'll get to see the replay on Friday/Saturday. PP

  2. Alistair Silver badge
    Pint

    annual BBQ

    Not that our backyard is the *best* observation point but we'll have a few folks over on 13th for munchies, chat and meteors.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advice for Star Gazers & refined young ladies of breeding on their wedding night!

    “Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Lie on your back and look straight up."

    Phwoar!!!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any money

    that the sky is cloudy throughout the entire spectacle.

    Only in the UK though....

    1. Random Handle

      Re: Any money

      >that the sky is cloudy throughout the entire spectacle.

      >Only in the UK though....

      Yep - was the fatal flaw in John Wyndham's thinking too.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Any money

        And there was I thinking that aggressively peripatetic herds of tripodal, carnivorous vegetation was a bit of a stretch of the imagination as well.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Any money

      Only partial cloud where I am in Scotland - and I have the advantage that living in the middle of nowhere (it does have advantages - and I have fibre :-) as it is always very dark - no nearby houses or towns here is hoping.

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Any money

      My interest in astronomy has gone from the sky to the net and reading over the years, and each and every time (years ago) I have tried to look for those buggers there are clouds, or perhaps my fuse is just too short and damned it, if I am prepared to lie down or my back. In other words are there any real time net things around, you know about. I start each morning with coffee and

      http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

    4. Haku

      Re: Any money

      Last year the sky was obscured by a big cloud above my town, estimate about 2-3 mile radius, but I was about 4 miles away on a night bike ride... :)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Any money

      *Smug Mode

      Just to say i told you so...

  5. Mike Shepherd
    IT Angle

    Confused

    If the first illustration represents a meteor shower, where is the radiant?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Confused

      Given the glowing tent I'm guessing this is really a montage though it could be just looking away from the radiant which sometimes leads to more erratics (meteors not from the storm just the random ones we get) in a long exposure.

      Never sure why photographers seem to find a need to pollute sky pictures with earth based objects.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    I'll give it a bash

    Thursday and Friday clear skies are forecast for Ibiza but much of Spain will be cloudy. Next year I hope to be inland from Valencia, halfway up a modest mountain at my new house, 5 Km from anywhere with street lights I am looking forward to doing a bit of stargazing. I wonder what the chances of a few days of rain will be next year during the Perseids?

    So far I can only remember seeing one Perseid meteor ever, through a break in the cloud so I won't be holding my breath.

    1. John Crisp

      Re: I'll give it a bash

      "Thursday and Friday clear skies are forecast for Ibiza but much of Spain will be cloudy. Next year I hope to be inland from Valencia, halfway up a modest mountain at my new house, 5 Km from anywhere with street lights I am looking forward to doing a bit of stargazing. I wonder what the chances of a few days of rain will be next year during the Perseids?"

      Half an hour inland from Valencia after another clear day in the low 30s tonight but its raining as I write :-)

      Been no rain for months as usual but more rain expected tomorrow... usually get it for a few days around mid August every year as the weather starts to turn. More so on the higher ground inland. Thurs & Fri look ok though.

      Valencia is a lovely part of the world to live in. Hope you have fun... you will if you speak Spanish (Valenciano anyone ? Arrrghghhhh) and spend a lot of time practising it in your local bars....... best way to make new friends !

      BTW... Did anyone tell you what winter is like ? Make sure you have good heating.......

  7. Haku
    Thumb Up

    My neice was born on that day

    so she'll get a cosmic firework display every birthday.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Picking nits

    Both graphics for this article are technically misleading. The first bears no resemblance to a meteor shower with its radiant point of origin for all trails. The second depicts the orbit of Swift Tuttle, but with the Sun far away from its orbital plane, which isn't possible.

    C'mon El Reg, you guys can do better than this, even for a filler article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Picking nits

      In addition to the ridiculous graphics there's also "Jupiter’s gravitational field nudges the meteors 1.5 million kilometres (930,000 miles) closer to Earth, making them appear brighter and twice as frequently across the sky."

      Hmm... The particles of dust etc. shed by comet Swift-Tuttle, from which the Perseids are derived, are in independent orbit around the Sun and are spread out all along that orbit. However, the particles are not tightly packed and closely following each other along that orbit but are spread out to either side of it, interestingly enough (because of the figures quoted by El Reg), over a total width, as it were, of ~0.1 AU, or ~1.5 million km/930000 miles. It is because the width of that stream of particles that we can see them over a period of several days, as it takes that long for the Earth to obliquely pass though the entire stream.

      At Jupiter's closest approach to that orbital stream (once again using El Reg's numbers of 257 million kilometres/160 million miles), it will be ~1.7 times further away from the closest particles than Earth is from the Sun. Now whilst Jupiter can certainly perturb the orbit of those closest particles, at that sort of distance, stating that it will move them closer to Earth, when the distance is already effectively 0 for the couple of days it takes Earth to pass through them is just nonsensical.

      As for the brightness and frequency, well...

      C'mon El Reg, you're just making yourself look stupid.

  9. Jan 0
    Boffin

    Up to 200 meteors per hour doesn't sound very impressive!

    Back in the days when my eyes could still focus on infinity, I could always see about 1 meteor per minute if I lay on my back on any cloudless night without light pollution. (Three examples out of many: on a Norfolk beach, up in the Pyrenees, on a boat in the Ionian sea.) Nowadays I always seem to be in the wrong place and haven't seen much Perseid activity. If somebody with good vision and a dark site does get a good view this week, please do some counting for us and see if you can't comfortably exceed 200 per hour.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Up to 200 meteors per hour doesn't sound very impressive!

      Well in 1833 there were 240.000 meteors in 9 hours during a Leonid shower.

      During a similar shower there were many suicides by people who thought it was the end of days and they've had to tone it down a bit since then. Health and Safety gone mad if you ask me.

      As for visibility I live in a Dark Skies area so I guess we wont get any bright meteors. C'est la Vie!

  10. muddysteve

    Don't think this is gonna work.

    Go out after midnight.

    Wait 45 minutes.

    Lie down.

    Fall asleep.

    Snore.

    Wake up in morning, cold, wet, having missed the event.

    Go home grumpy.

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