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Dark Skies
Star Parties
Solar System
Light Pollution

Did you know you can use an inexpensive webcam to capture images of planets and other objects in the night sky?

Clik here to find out more.
If you are looking for a telescope be sure to check out the following teh telescop site first.
The Telescope Site
  Webcam Astronomy
Major Meteor Showers
What is a meteor shower anyway?

Meteoroids are the debris sloughed off from comets.

When a comet passes through the inner solar system, the sun heats it up which causes it to lose particles of ice and dust. These particles are seen as the comet's tail that we are familiar with. Each comet leaves a trail of dust behind. At certain times of the year the earth passes through one of these trails of debris.

As the particles from the comet debris trail reach the Earth's atmosphere and burn up, they are referred to as meteors; otherwise known as shooting stars. Those that hold together and actually reach the Earth's surface are known as meteorites.

What will I see if I watch a meteor shower?
  The short answer: Lots of "shooting stars"

There are several major meteor showers to enjoy every year at various times, with some more active than others. For example, April's Lyrids are expected to produce about 15 meteors an hour at their peak for observers viewing in good conditions. Now, if you put the same observer in the same good conditions during a higher-rate shower like August's Perseids or December's Geminids, that person could witness up to 80 meteors an hour during peak activity
How long do meteor showers last?
  Meteor showers generally last from a few days up to about a week. Each event has a peak
How and Where Should I Watch a Meteor Shower?

The best situation for viewing a metior shower is when there is no moon up in the sky. Because the moon is so bright, it can wash out the night sky making it more difficult to see meteors. That happens on dates when there is a new moon or when the moon sets early enought to be out of the way for the prime time of the show.

For the same reason it is best to view a meteor shower away from city lights. If you live near a city you will need to find a spot away from the city lights to see the more faint meteors. You should be able some of the brighter meteors from the city but the best thing to sdo us find a dark location .

To find a good location to view a meteor shower,
take a look at our light pollution maps!

OK Here is the List of Major Meteor Showers
  Comet of Origin: 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Leo
Active: Nov. 7-28, 2010
Peak Activity: Night of Nov. 17-18, 2010
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 15 per hour
Time of Optimal Viewing: A half-full moon sets after midnight, allowing for a dark sky. Best viewing time will be just before dawn.
Meteor Velocity: 71 kilometers (44 miles) per second
  Comet of Origin: 3200 Phaethon
Radiant: constellation Gemini
Active: Dec. 4-16, 2010
Peak Activity: Night of Dec 13-14, 2010
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 50 meteors per hour
Time of Optimal Viewing: 2 a.m.
Meteor Velocity: 35 kilometers (22 miles) per second
  Comet of Origin: 2003 EH1
Radiant: constellation Quadrant Murales
Active: Dec. 28, 2010-Jan. 12, 2011
Peak Activity: Jan. 3-4, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 40 meteors per hour
Time of Optimal Viewing: 2:30 a.m. to dawn
Meteor Velocity: 41 kilometers (25.5 miles) per second
Note: The alternate name for the Quadrantids is the Bootids. Constellation Quadrant Murales is now defunct, and the meteors appear to radiate from the modern constellation Bootes. Since the show is usually only a few hours long and often obscured by winter weather, it doesn't have the same celebrated status as the Geminids or Perseids.
  Comet of Origin: C/1861 G1 Thatcher
Radiant: constellation Lyra
Active: April 16-25, 2011
Peak Activity: April 21-22, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: 18-20 meteors per hour
Time of Optimal Viewing: 11 p.m.-dawn
Meteor Velocity: Lyrid meteors hit the atmosphere at a moderate speed of 48 kilometers (30 miles) per second. They often produce luminous dust trains observable for several seconds.
Eta Aquarids
  Comet of Origin: 1P Halley
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Active: April 19-May 28, 2011
Peak Activity: Early morning May 5-7, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 20 meteors per hour
Time of Optimal Viewing: 3:30-5 a.m.
Meteor Velocity: 66 kilometers (44 miles) per second
Delta Aquarids
  Comet of Origin: unknown
Radiant: constellation Aquarius
Active: July 12–Aug. 23, 2011
Peak Activity: July 30, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 16 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 41 kilometers (25 miles) per second
Notes: Meteor watchers in the Southern Hemisphere and in the Northern Hemisphere's tropical latitudes enjoy the best views.
  Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Perseus
Active: July 17-Aug. 24, 2011
Peak Activity: Aug. 13, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 100 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 59 kilometers (37 miles) per second
  Comet of Origin: 1P/Halley
Radiant: Just to the north of constellation Orion's bright star Betelgeuse
Active: Oct. 2-Nov. 7, 2011
Peak Activity: Oct. 21, 2011
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 25 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 66 kilometers (41 miles) per second
Note: With the second-fastest entry velocity of the annual meteor showers, meteors from the Orionids produce yellow and green colors and have been known to produce an odd fireball from time to time.


It was once calculated that the Comet Swift-Tuttle was on a collision course with Earth, suggesting that an impact was likely to occur in the year 2026. That theory was quickly debunked as recalculations of the nearly dual century data showed differently. The new theory is that in the year 3044, the Comet Swift-Tuttle will brush by within a million miles of the Earth, considering this future event to be a true 'cosmic near miss' by astronomers.

  Note: The International Meteor Organization calls the 2011 Perseids "hopelessly moonlit." This will render lackluster what is usually an impressive show.

If you miss the Persied meteor shower, another great meteor shower, the Loenids occurs mid November.

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