Stay up all night Monday night, and keep looking towards the sky into the early light of Tuesday, December 14th to see the best meteor showers of the year. More than 100 meteors will fly through the night sky every hour. Peak showers will be early Tuesday, between midnight and sunrise. And you’ll be able to see them easily with the naked eye. That is, if it’s a clear night. The meteors are caused by debris of what was once believed to be an asteroid or comet. They will appear to come from the constellation Gemini, hence their name. Gemini is easy to find if you look toward the east in the night sky, and find its two large stars, the twins, Castor and Pollux. Click HERE to find out how to find Gemini in the night sky. Some meteors will be visible through December 16th. For more info on the meteor shower go to NASA.
While your staying up all night to watch the sky, mark your calendar for 3:13 am Tuesday December 21st for the Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse. That day will also be the Winter Solstice. I’ll write about what that special day means in my next Moon Letter. Be sure SIGN UP to receive my monthly newsletter that talks about what the Full Moon means to you.
The Perseid meteor showers peak on Thursday night, August 12th .and the morning of August 13th, showing up to 60 meteors an hour. Meteor showers as caused by debris that is shed by comets as the travel in their orbit. If we pass them in their orbit, we see that debris as it streaks into our atmosphere, burning up as it falls to the ground. Sometimes called a shooting star (if it streaks across the sky) or a falling star (if it falls to earth) they are wonderful to watch. The meteor showers are named after the constellations from which they appear to occur, in this case, the constellation Perseus. If you miss the peak, you can still see some meteors until August 22nd.
To view the meteor shower, go outside around midnight, after the Moon has set, and the constellation Perseus has risen. Perseus can be found in the northeast, and is named after that famous Greek hero who slay the Gorgon Medusa, and rescued the beautiful Andromeda, a constellation you can find very near to his. (Two recent movies featured Perseus, “Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief” which was very fun, and “Clash of the Titans” which was horrible, in my opinion.) It is best to have a lawn chair, so you can watch the sky in the direction of Perseus, without straining your neck. Make a relaxing night of it.