Across Idaho and the nation, people are gearing up for a celestial event of epic proportions: the August 21 solar eclipse.
The bright moonlight dampened the spirits of the around 200 stargazers who had gathered at the two vantage points of Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar on Saturday to witness the annual "Perseids Shower" that lights up the night sky. The space agency stated that they are expecting 150 meteors per hour, which is 10 times smaller than the Leonid meteor storms of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But you don't have to me a club member to watch the meteors at the park. The moon's glow will be especially bright this year. An astronomer with the Royal Astronomical Society reported that viewers may only see 20 meteors per hours if they are lucky. Light pollution can make it more hard to see the shower. And as this event is happening right before the aforementioned solar eclipse, it serves as a reminder of other interesting astronomical phenomenon.
The comet is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by the earth and has a nucleus width of about 26 km. Debris from the comet breaks off and can drift in space for years before being captured by Earth's gravity and falling into the sky.
With only a few clouds in the forecast tonight, some of us could see a few meteors streaking across the Valley. His advice for best possible viewing? If you're able to catch sight of the Perseids before moonrise around 11:30 p.m., you could see as many as 80 shooting stars per hour.
Even if your attempts to view the Perseid showers are stymied, do not be too disappointed.