In Our Skies, July 2023: Perseid Meteor Shower

by Shaphan Shank | Jul 1, 2023 | 0 comments

The Perseid meteor shower is the most popular meteor shower of the year. This is partly because it always peaks during the warm nights of summer, and partly because it is the second-strongest shower of the year, with a zenith hourly rate (ZHR) of around 100. Perseid meteors tend to be fast, and many of them are fairly bright. Like many other meteor showers, the Perseid shower produces the highest meteor rates in the early morning hours. This year the Perseids will peak on the night of August 12–13. New Moon occurs just a few nights later, so moonlight will not interfere with meteor observation.

The Moon will occult (pass in front of) the bright star Antares on the evening of August 24. The occultation will be visible from most of the central and eastern United States, as well as northern Mexico. The last occultation of Antares visible from the United States occurred in 2009, but there will be several more occultations of Antares during the coming year.

Saturn will be at opposition on August 27. When a planet is at opposition, it is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, rising around sunset and setting around sunrise. Opposition is also the time when a planet is largest and brightest because it is closest to Earth and most directly illuminated by the Sun. The weeks around the opposition of Saturn will be the best time to view the Ringed Planet this year.

Telescope for sale: I have a used Celestron 9.25” SCT, fork-mounted telescope kit for sale as of this writing. It may or may not still be for sale when you read this. Call Kevin 540-947-1636.

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