No matter where you live worldwide, the 2020 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. On the peak mornings in 2020, the moon will be at or slightly past its last quarter phase, so moonlight will somewhat mar this year’s production. Still, there are some ways you can minimize the moon and optimize your chances for a good display of Perseids this year. Here are some thoughts:
The Perseids tend to be bright, and a good percentage of them should be able to overcome the moonlight. Who knows? You still might see up to 40 to 50 meteors per hour at the shower’s peak, even in the light of a bright moon. Will you see over 100 per hour, as in some years? Not likely. Still …
Try to watch after midnight but before moonrise. If fortune smiles upon you, the evening hours might offer you an earthgrazer – a looooong, slow, colorful meteor traveling horizontally across the evening sky. Earthgrazer meteors are rare but memorable. Perseid earthgrazers appear before midnight, when the radiant point of the shower is close to the horizon.
Watch in moonlight, but place yourself in the moon’s shadow.
Consider watching after the peak. People tend to focus on the peak mornings of meteor showers, and that’s entirely appropriate. But meteors in annual showers – which come from streams of debris left behind in space by comets – typically last weeks, not days. Perseid meteors have been streaking across our skies since around July 17. We’ll see Perseids for 10 days or so after the peak mornings on August 11, 12 and 13, though at considerably reduced numbers. Yet, each day as the moon wanes in the morning sky, less moonlight will obtrude on the show. Starting on or around August 17, moon-free skies reign all night long.
“We are so happy. It’s just a miracle. We can’t believe it. We are calling her ‘The Miracle Dog,'” said Kim Oberman, who has been on a boating vacation with her husband Nick, their children and Roxy.
…According to Oberman, their boat was about two-miles from shore when they figure Roxy must have gone overboard. Thankfully, Roxy had several things in her favor to make it back to shore alive.
“She’s young, and she was wearing a life jacket. She’s a good swimmer, and she’s smart. The current was pushing her to the north and west into the shore,” Oberman said. “Usually when we are cruising we take the life jacket off of her, because we stay down below or by the helm, but this day I hadn’t taken it off, and thank God.”
Shawn of Lake Superior Photo took this photo of Comet Neowise peeking through the clouds and fog yesterday morning. She shares that it’s visible to the naked eye & you can catch it the next few days in the northeast before sunrise!! EarthSky explains how to see Comet Neowise:
We still have to wait for another very bright comet, what astronomers call a great comet. There’s no strict definition for great comet, but most agree that Hale-Bopp – widely seen by people in 1997 – was one. Lesser comets are moderately frequent, though, and, right now, there’s a nice binocular comet in the dawn sky. Some skilled observers have reported that – once you spot it with binoculars – you can remove them and see the comet with the unaided eye. Using binoculars or other optical aid is a must, though, if you want to see this comet’s split tail. The comet is called C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE).
Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is up at dawn now; it will be highest in the dawn sky around July 11. Then it will gradually approach the horizon each day. By mid July (around July 12-15), the comet will become visible at dusk (just after sunset), low in the northwest horizon.
If the comet remains relatively bright, it might be easier to see in the second half of July during evening dusk, because, at that time, it will appear somewhat higher in the sky.
Tom took this photo at the Bay City Fireworks Festival back in 2018. He writes that “Focus Pulling is a technique of adjusting focus from out of focus to tack sharp during a firework explosion over 1 to 3 seconds. similar physical operation as zooming during exposure only you use the manual focus ring instead of the zoom ring.”
Michigan is drowning right now in some of the worst rains on record. Every day for the last two weeks, from Midland to Grand Rapids to Traverse City, my feed has been full of images of people losing everything to flooding. PLEASE send rainbows.
Just so this post isn’t a totally depressing send-off for your weekend, let me call in one of my favorite websites, Atmospheric Optics. Regarding secondary rainbows or “double rainbows” they say that the secondary is nearly always fainter than the primary, with colors reversed and more widely separated:
Light can be reflected more than once inside a raindrop. Rays escaping after two reflections make a secondary bow.
The secondary has a radius of 51º and lies some 9º outside the primary bow. It is broader, 1.8X the width of the primary, and its colours are reversed so that the reds of the two bows always face one another. The secondary has 43% of the total brightness of the primary but its surface brightness is lower than that because its light is spread over its greater angular extent. The primary and secondary are are concentric, sharing the antisolar point for a center.