Viewing Shooting Stars
When can you see the most falling stars? Is there
a certain time of year or certain day when there is more than usual?
Falling stars or shooting stars are also called meteors. If the sky
is really dark, you can see meteors almost every night. When there
are a lot of meteors, it is called a meteor shower. These take place
at specific times of the year, and each one has particular name.
Which meteor showers you can see best depends on where you live. If
you live in the northern hemisphere like I do, two of my favorite
meteor showers are the Perseids and the Leonids. The names come from
the places in the sky where the meteors seem to come from. This year
(2006) the Perseids will peak around August 12 and the Leonids on
November 17. The Perseids may be harder to see because the moon will
be almost full and very bright at that time. The Leonids will happen
during a new moon, so the sky will be much darker and the meteors
will be easier to see. Hope this helps.
The best time to try a view "falling stars" or meteor showers is
when the path of the Earth passes through the remnant dust of comets
and if that particular time is when the moon is dark.
There are some reliable dates for meteor shower viewing. Here is a
website that lists the dates and the names of the constellations
from where the showers appear to emanate from:
My own personal favorite are the Perseids Meteor Shower (in August)
and in Gemenids (in December). These meteor showers can produce
around 1 meteor every minute. Unfortunately in 2006, the Perseids
will coincide with a full moon.
Just remember to get as far away from city lights as you can, check
the weather for over-cast/clouds, bring a blanket, and enjoy the
show with friends.
Greg (Roberto Gregorius)
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Update: June 2012