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The Perseids: July-August 2009
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Summary: Forecasters expect the 2009 Perseid meteor shower to peak on August 11th and 12th. Moonlight will interfere with the display, but not ruin it. Sky watchers in dark country locations could see more than 100 meteors per hour, and perhaps as many as 200 if Earth passes through an anticipated filament of comet dust that is crossing Earth's path. NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office warns of a possible outburst at 0800 UT (01 a.m. PDT) on August 12th. [live meteor counts] [possible outburst] [observing tips] [sky map]

  Photographer, Location Images Comments

Peter McCabe,
Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland
Aug. 7, 2009

I set up my camera last night hoping to get a few Perseids. This one shot across the sky behind my back. I didn't see it, but the camera did!

Photo details: Canon 450D, 20mm wide angle lens, 25 seconds

Bill Cooke,
NASA Meteoroid Environment Office, Huntsville, Alabama
Aug. 4, 2009
#1, #2, #3

Using a pair of all-sky cameras, NASA astronomer Bill Cooke photographed this Perseid skimming the top of Earth's atmosphere on August 4th. Because the Earthgrazer was captured on two cameras 100 miles apart, he was able to triangulate its position and measure its velocity. "It came in at 58.8 km/s and disintegrated between 111 and 86 km above Earth's surface," he says. So far, the dual-camera system has captured seven bright Perseids suitable for analysis. Cooke's histograms of starting and ending heights answer the question, how high is a Perseid?


Thomas Ashcraft ,
near Santa Fe, New Mexico
Aug. 4, 2009
#1, #2, more

On August 4th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft caught an early Perseid using an all-sky camera at his observatory near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Click here play a movie with sound effects. The "ping" you just heard was a 61.25 MHz TV signal bouncing off the meteor's ionized tail. Ashcraft keeps an antenna trained on the sky so that he can record the echos and lay them down as soundtracks for his all-sky movies.

Brian Emfinger,
Ozark, Arkansas, US
Aug. 1, 2009
#1, #2, #3, more

The Perseids continue to slowly increase. I caught 4 meteors with two nice ones. This fireball was battling fading sunlight and the moon yet still is easily visible! The second one is from early morning and has very nice color and clearly shows the Perseid Radiant.

Photo details: Canon Digital Rebel XT, ISO 1600, F3.5, 30secs

Brian Emfinger,
Ozark, Arkansas, USA
Jul. 26, 2009
#1, #2, more

I caught this bright Perseid Fireball with smoke trail just after midnight on Sunday July 26th.

Photo details: Canon Digital Rebel XT, ISO 1600, F3.5, 1 min exposure.

more images: from Banafsheh Golabgiran of Firuzkuh, Tehran, Iran; from Robin Geys of Kapellen, Belgium; from Bob Johnson of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; from Paul Evans of Larne, Northern Ireland; from Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary;