Toronto — Globe and Mail Update
Published on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 12:27PM EDT
Last updated on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 2:42PM EDT
.One of the year's brightest shows is on Thursday night – and best of all, it's free.
The Perseid meteor shower, one of the most spectacular of the year, will be visible all night, as debris from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle falls into the earth's atmosphere.
The meteors are centered on a spot near the Perseus constellation. In the early evening, it will sit low in the northeastern sky. As the night progresses, it will move steadily upward.
The most spectacular point of the shower will happen about 3 or 4 a.m., in the hours before first light.
At the shower's peak, as many as 100 meteors per hour will streak across the sky. Light pollution, however, could mean that far fewer of these objects will be visible to city-dwellers. It will, however, be more visible than last year, as the moon will be smaller.
Ray Jayawardhana, an associate professor at the University of Toronto's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said those hoping to see the shower should seek out a dark place.
“I certainly think from the outskirts of the city or perhaps from the roof of a building,” he said.
amazing meteor shower
If the skies are clear enough for good viewing, the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill will hold an open house from 9:30 p.m. ET to midnight. Participants are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lie back and watch the sky. Members of the Royal Astronomical Society will have telescopes set up and will be on hand to answer questions.
The observatory will post a notice on its website around 6 p.m. indicating if the weather will be clear enough for good viewing.