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August 12, 2019 - Perseid Sneak Peak

Perseid Sneak Peak  Each August, Earth passes through a debris trail left by Comet Swift-Tuttle. At a rate of about one per minute, bits of dust, some as fine as cigar ash, release tremendous energy as they slam into the atmosphere at speeds of 58 km/sec (129,000 mph). These meteors leave trails that radiate from the constellation Perseus, lending this meteor shower its name, the Perseids. The shower peaks overnight on the 12th/13th, and the Moon will outshine all but the brightest meteors until it sets, just an hour or so before sunrise. But not everyone needs to be looking up to see the Perseids. Astronauts on the International Space Station are occasionally treated to sights of these atmospheric intruders while on the dark side of their orbit. This image of a bright Perseid flash was captured from the ISS in August 2011.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

August 12 - 18, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 12

Saturn 0.04° north of Moon
Pluto 0.1° south of Moon
Perseid meteor shower

1877: Asaph Hall discovers Deimos, moon of Mars
1960: Echo 1 satellite launched on first successful Delta rocket
1962: Vostok 4 launched
1977: HEAO-1 launched
1977: Space shuttle Enterprise’s first glide test
2005: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter launched
2018: Parker Solar Probe launched

Moon phase Tuesday 13

Perseid meteor shower

Moon phase Wednesday 14

Venus in superior conjunction

Moon phase Thursday 15

Full Moon 8:29 AM ET

Moon phase Friday 16

1963: M2-F1 lifting body makes first glide flight after being towed aloft by a C-47

Moon phase Saturday 17

Moon at apogee
Neptune 4° north of Moon

1966: Pioneer 7 launched
1970: Venera 7 launched
2006: Voyager 1 is 100 AU from Earth

Moon phase Sunday 18

1868: Total solar eclipse leads to discovery of helium
1877: Asaph Hall discovers Phobos
1960: Discoverer XIV launched, first successful US photo reconnaissance satellite
1993: First DC-X flight
1999: Cassini spacecraft flies by Earth

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.