Mini Meteor Shower Tuesday

Written by The Night Sky Guy on July 27, 2009 – 12:28 pm -

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Skywatchers get a chance to have their appetites whetted for the upcoming Perseids, with a small meteor shower peaking late Tomorrow (Tuesday) night.  Known as the southern-Delta Aquarids, this relatively little known event occurs annually and produces about 20 shooting stars at its peak time – around 10 pm tomorrow to 1 am (Wednesday).  You may have already noticed above average number of shooting stars at night as we are leading up to the peak for this shower.  The meteors themselves are sand grain sized particles that are in a giant cloud in space. most probably debris left behind by a comet that shed its dust. Every year, Earth slams into this cosmic dust cloud producing the Aquarid shower.

Like all other showers the Aquarids are named after the constellation from which the meteors seem to originate from in the sky. In this case its the famous zodiac constellation Aquarius. A generally faint pattern of stars, Aquarius rises above the local eastern horizon about 11 pm and is easier to locate this summer thanks to the planet Jupiter, which is the brightest star-like object in that part of the sky . So it’s after that, when you should start to see an increase in shower activity.  From a dark location away from light polluted cities you could see one meteor every 5 minutes or so.

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