The Perseid meteor showers are expected to be the most spectacular on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. The annual meteor shower is typically seen between mid-July and late August. It is recommended to view the showers from as far away from lights as possible. However, if viewing away from lights is not feasible, the Perseid meteor shower can be seen by viewing NASA’s live broadcast of the event.
The webcast will be on USTREAM.tv/channel/NASA-MFSC. The show runs from Aug. 12 at 10:00 p.m through Aug. 13 at 2:00 a.m. ET. Meteor experts will be available to answer questions. During the meteor shower, there will be commentary by Dr. Bill Cooke, Rhiannon Blaauw, and Danielle Moser, who are all part of Marshall’s Micrometeoroid Office. Additional experts will be participating via telephone from many other areas in the U.S.
Viewers can ask questions on the NASA Marshall Center Facebook page. The post will be up at 9:00 p.m. ET on Aug. 12, 2015. Additionally, questions can be asked via Twitter to @NASA_Marshall using the hashtag #askNASA. The experts will answer the questions online.
Another opportunity to see the meteor shower is at the NASA Wallops Flight Visitor Center in Virginia. This is a presentation of the annual Astronomy and Night Sky Summer Series, and its focus will be on the Perseid meteor shower. Prior to viewing the summer sky with binoculars and telescopes, there will be an Astronomy 101 presentation, according to the NASA website.
The astronomy program will be held at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Herbert H. Bateman Education Center Auditorium. The educational program will take place even if there is bad weather. In the case of bad weather, the outside viewing will be canceled.
The Weather Channel predicts the night will be clear, with light winds and a temperature of 65 degrees. According to the Visitor Center’s manager, this year, the view should be clear, as the moon is in the slender waning stage.
NASA’s Astronomy and Night Sky Summer Series takes place on Virginia’s Assateague Island. The educational program time is from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. The sky viewing is scheduled between 8:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. ET. The series is free, however, there is a fee to enter the park. The entrance fee at the wildlife refuge is $8.00 per car. It is recommended to bring a binoculars and a red light. Bringing insect repellent is also suggested.
Viewing the Perseid Meteor Showers is the third date in this summer’s series. The last date for this summer’s event is August 27, 2015. The series is popular, and the educational program is first-come, first-served, so it is recommended that visitors arrive early.
According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, the month of August is a good month for the possibility of spotting all of the planets. It is also possible to see the former planets of Pallas, Pluto, Vesta, Ceres and Juno. These are best viewed between dusk and dawn.
The instructions are as follows: “Start right after sunset and find Jupiter low on the western horizon.” Binoculars and a flat western horizon are necessary to see Venus and Mercury near Jupiter. Just higher in the southwestern sky, Saturn can be seen between dusk and midnight.
A telescope will be needed to view Pluto. Uranus and Neptune can be seen using binoculars just before sunrise in the eastern sky. Also noted is that between now and the end of 2016, Mars will be easily seen. Jane Houston Jones is the spokesperson for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She explains, “[Mars will] rise earlier and [it will] loom larger in the eyepiece.” The changes will occur each passing month.
NASA offers live webcasts from Hawaii; Fairbanks, Alaska; Alice Springs, Austrailia; Norway; the European Space Agency; the International Space Station; the Marshall Space Flight Center; and more. There are extensive webcast archives. Various constellations, spacewalks from the International Space Station, and the planets, among others, can be seen in the webcasts.
On NASA.gov, there is much more to explore, including the journey to Mars and all missions of the aerospace agency. As for the Perseid meteor shower, it is predicted to be the best in years, and NASA is offering a live broadcast Aug. 12-13, 2015.
By Cathy Milne
BUSINESS INSIDER: How to Watch the Most Incredible Meteor Shower of the Year This Week
NASA blogs: NASA Marshall to Host Ustream Event About Perseid Meteor Shower August 12; Experts to Answer Questions Online
Mashable: The Perseid Meteor Shower is Peaking Next Week, and it Might Be Amazing
Featured Photo Courtesy of David Grant’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Photo Courtesy of Steve Ryan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License