The best nights to seethey’re probably behind us, but skywatchers should be looking for it this week while watching to see if meteor showers hit their pace.
handfulare currently active, including Alpha Capricornids and Southern Delta Aquarids, which will culminate on July 29. The moon is only partially lit this week, and Neowise should be visible through binoculars, giving you a little excuse not to go out after dark and spend little time just watching.
Last week I set out for an extremely dark evening in the New Mexico desert, a few miles from the lights of the nearest small town. I turned north, located the Great Wagon in the sky, and moved down a little. Comet Neowis, with its long, burning tail, was immediately apparent, before my eyes fully adapted to the darkness.
I spent less than 10 minutes outside watching the night sky, and during that time I managed to spot two whipping meteors, including one that seemed to cut Neowis’ tail. It was a truly remarkable sight that immediately regretted me.
Some of you weren’t so sorry and you shared your best photos of Neowis with me:
One Wisconsin photographer seems to have captured the same kind of double object I saw:
More than a dozen meteor showers are currently active, but only a few are likely to create many visible shooting stars, says Robert Lunsford of the American Meteorological Society. South Delta weather showers, alpha-Capricornids and Anthelion have the potential to produce more meteors per hour this week. The famous Perseids also begin, but can generate one or two tail lights per hour.
“The estimated total hourly rate for evening observers this week is approximately 4 when viewed from mid-northern latitudes and 3 when viewed from tropical southern locations (25 S). For early observers, the total estimated hourly frequency should be around 22 when viewed from half north latitude (45 S) and 19 when viewed from tropical southern locations (25 S), ”Lunsford writes in his weekly meteor forecast.
“Actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and perception of movement, local weather conditions, vigilance and meteor activity monitoring experience. Evening rates are reduced during this period due to the moonlight. “
Remember that the best way to see Neowis and meteors is to get as far away from light pollution as possible. In the evening sky, look for a comet under Big Dipper and! Leave those stellar, eric, cometary images coming to @EricCMack on Twitter or Instagram.