Friday, August 9, 2013

Perseid Meteor Shower August 11-12

Photo by Jack Fusco Photography via EarthSky
We are getting close to the peak of the Perseid Meteor shower on the evening of August 11 through the morning of August 12.  NASA is going to host a live webchat with NASA astronomer Bill Cooke and his team members Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.  If it is cloudy in your area you can also watch a live webstream of the meteor shower.



The best way to observe the meteor shower is lying flat on your back looking straight up in an dark area with open sky.  The meteors will appear from all directions, so keep a look out.  Give your eyes plenty of time to adjust to the darkness is can take between 20 and 30 minutes.  For everything you needed to know about the Perseid Meteor shower and viewing them check out Earth Sky's Perseid page.

Why do we at NASA study meteor showers? Meteor dust can help scientists to answer some very surprising questions about the Earth's atmosphere and can help to map out complex wind patterns. This can help us to understand the how the atmosphere circulates.  Mineral analysis of meteors can also help to answer questions about the origins of the solar system.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Welcome to Know Your Night Sky! In the next 5 months we will introduce you to a number a cool things you can look at in the night sky and a number of events that are happening related to the night sky.  The first month, August, is dedicated to meteors.  During the month of August we will post fun facts about meteors and why we study them at NASA.

NASA/Ron Garan from the Space Station
 We would also encourage you to go out and see your own meteor, and it is a great month to do that because the Perseid meteor shower is happening this month.  The peak will be August 11 and 12. Check out the theme pages for more information about each month's topic.