By Mario Carr
On Saturday August 11 Hamilton Amateur Astronomers will once again open the gates to Binbrook Conservation Area for its annual Perseids Meteor Shower Watch. Free admission after 8 p.m. and the event runs until 11 p.m.
The night promises to be one of the best in years since there will be no blinding moonlight to wash out meteors. Last year, more than 800 people came out despite the glare or the full moon.
If you plan to attend, bring a blanket, groundsheet or lounge chair because lying down is one of the best ways to enjoy the meteor shower. Also, protect yourself from biting mosquitoes by applying repellent and wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt.
There will also be a night sky tour to point constellations, samples of meteorites and members will set-up telescopes for observing.
The events may be cancelled if it’s cloudy or raining. Check the club’s website for details. There will also be a volunteer collection of non-perishable items for local food banks.
The shower can be seen July 23 – August 22. It peaks August 12-13 when up to 60 meteors per hour can be seen and is best viewed after midnight. As a bonus this year, there will be five other celestial events in a single day.
August 13 – At dawn, the moon and Venus group in the east and it’s one of the best times to see Mercury. In the afternoon, Venus will move behind the moon starting at 4:37 p.m. At dusk during tonight and tomorrow, Mars, Saturn and Spica align in the south western sky.
August 15 – At dawn, Venus shines at it’s highest in the sky and the crescent moon is above Mercury.
August 16 – At dawn, Mercury shines at it’s highest above the horizon.
August 21 – The moon, Mars, Saturn and Spica group low in the western evening sky.
August 31 – The second full moon of the month called the Corn Moon will appear. The first full moon called the Sturgeon Moon happened on August 1. Two moons in one month won’t happen again until July 2015.
Venus and Mercury can be seen in the northeast during morning twilight. Mars is in the southwest at dusk and sets around 10 p.m. Jupiter rises in the northeast around 1 a.m. and is high in the southeast before sunrise. Saturn is in the southwest at dusk and sets around 10 p.m.
For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.
- Watch out for the conjunction of the Moon, Saturn, Mars and bright star Spica tonight (siliconrepublic.com)
- Mars soon to pass in between Saturn and Spica (earthsky.org)
- Moon lines up with Mars and Saturn after sunset July 23 (earthsky.org)
- Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight: How to Watch (space.com)
- Mars rover Curiosity to land on August 5. See Mars tonight. (earthsky.org)
- Perseid Meteor Shower Wows Weekend Stargazers (space.com)
- Spica-Mars-Saturn Conjunction (biblescienceguy.wordpress.com)