Thursday, 02 August 2018 11:08

Rothney Observatory hosts Perseids Meteor Shower Weekend

Written by  Neel Roberts
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2018 is not only promising to be a great summer fireball show, the most popular meter of shower of the year will be held by Calgary’s Rothney Observatory located just outside of Priddis.

 

The RASC Calgary will host the peak evening Saturday observer’s session from 10 p.m .to 2 a.m. but the Rothney Observatory will also be open 3 days before that for an overall of Thursday August 9 to August 12, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

What’s more is admission is free, but a donation is always appreciated and well worth it. This year during peak you should see about 60-70 meteors per hour whereas in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour.

The moon is very favorable as it’ll be near new and below the horizon all 4 nights before the show starts. The Perseids shower event is the result of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle trailing debris which has been seen since BC and last observed in 1992 but unfortunately not scheduled to return until 2126. Look in the NNE about ¼ of the way up in the constellation of Perseus and follow it upward, NE for the night to catch the best fireballs. If that isn’t enough reason to come out, there’s also 5 planets, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn & Pluto out at dusk so with the variety of telescopes, etc. available for use. So whether you’re a first timer or frequent flyer, what’s stopping you this time from making the trip to the Rothney Observatory?
Sky watch for the next month:  
1. Dawn Moon Occults Aldebaran-  Monday, August 6 watch for the Moon to hid Aldebaran from 06:45 a.m. for the rest of the day.
2. Venus Greatest Elongation-  Friday, August 17 before sunset, look SWW as the queen planet as it blazes at magnitude -4.32, almost blinding in a telescope.
3.Milky Way Brilliance- This is an excellent month to view our home galaxy without freezing. Best time is after 11:00 pm until dawn.
4 Annual Perseids Meteor Shower- Runs until August 24thwith the peak Friday August 11thto Sunday August 13thwith estimated rate of 60-100 meteors per hour dampened by the waning gibbous Moon. Best view is starting at 11:00 pm facing the NE in the constellation of Perseids until dawn. Check out this viewing guide for details https://www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html.
Public Events for the next month:
Annual Milky Way Weekend Calgary’s Rothney Observatory near Priddis- Mark down Thursday, August 09thto Saturday 12thfrom 22:00 to 02:00 am. There will be an array of scopes operated by University of Calgary astronomers and members of the RASC Calgary. See astronomers in their nature habitat, under dark moonless skies. Late night public observing is a unique opportunity to see deep sky objects such as planetary nebula and globular clusters. You will have the opportunity to look through the telescopes, and astronomers will be on hand to answer questions.For further information, contact Jennifer Howse at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (403) 931-2366. Theirwebsite https://www.ucalgary.ca/rao/ updated regularly.
Happy meteor shower hunting and keep reaching for the Sky!
Neel Roberts is a member of the Calgary chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada-the nation’s leading astronomy club founded in 1868 with over 5,000 members and 29 centers across Canada. Neel welcomes your questions and comments at (403)560-6574, www.ptccanada.com. The members meet once a month on weekends at Calgary’s Rothney Observatory near Priddis and you can check out times at https://www.ucalgary.ca/rao/calendar. Like them at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/272037680377/, Twitter https://twitter.com/CalgaryRASC & YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/RASCCalgary.

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