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Dark Skies
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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
Perseid Meteor Shower
What is it?

The Perseid meteor shower takes place in mid August. While the Perseids usually peak mid August every year, shooting stars can often be seen a week or two before and after the peak date. Known as the most brilliant of annual meteor showers, the Perseids, at its peak, can emit anywhere from 50 to 150 shogoting stars an hour.

Persied Details
  Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Radiant: constellation Perseus
Active: July 8-Aug. 15, 2013
Peak Activity: Aug. 10-11, 2013
Peak Activity Meteor Count: Approximately 100 meteors per hour
Meteor Velocity: 59 kilometers (37 miles) per second
Where should I look?
  The meteors will appear to come out of the Perseus constellation. The easiest way to find Perseus is to look for Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia is a W shaped constellation in the Northern sky (circled in red below) Just south of Cassiopea is a J shaped constellation which is part of perseous (circled in green below).
Cassiopia and Perseus
Can I seen the shower if I live in a city?
  While the best place to watch is in a dark location you should be able some of the brighter meteors from the city. To find a good location you can check out our light pollution maps.
History of the Persied Meteor Shower

The Comet Swift-Tuttle, which was first spotted in 1862, is thought to be roughly six miles across. Since its first official sighting in the 19th century by Louis Swift and then by Horace Tuttle three days later, this comet hadn’t been seen again until 130 years later when its closest pass with Earth occurred in 1992. It is estimated that at the most recent pass, the comet was a mere 110 million miles from the planet. It won't be seen again until 2126.

While it is rare to see the comet itself, every year, millions of people head out in search of some of the darker places of the night to witness the Perseid Meteor shower, an annual event that occurs when the Earth crosses the orbit of the comet.


Meteoroids are the debris sloughed off from comets. When they 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.

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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