Heads Up, It's a Meteor Shower!

Image via ScienceAtNASA video. You need a really dark sky to see meteors as featured in the photo. The meteors in this image are probably from the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Watch the Draconid Meteor Shower on the evenings of October 7th and 8th, 2012, at nightfall. 

Tips for watching meteor showers from Heads Up, It's a Meteor Shower handout:

*You don’t need a telescope, just your eyes

*Watch the whole sky

*Find a dark spot away from streetlights

*Lie down on a blanket, air mattress, or reclining chair 

*Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark and you will see more faint meteors

*Wear layers

Where do meteor showers come from? Comets! Comets come from the outer Solar System and leave behind a stream of dust as they are warmed by the Sun. Only a few comets pass through the Earth's orbit. Meteor showers come from comets, but the sporadic meteors on other nights are mostly asteroid bits.

How big is a meteor? Smaller than grains of sand, meteors vaporize in a bright streak of light as they hit Earth’s atmosphere.

Where do meteors get their names? Meteors can be seen all over the sky, but if you trace them back, they appear to be radiating from one constellation. The Draconid meteor shower radiates from Draco the Dragon. 

Download the Heads Up! It’s a Meteor Shower handout, which includes a calendar of major meteor showers. Share it with your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and at star parties (if you're in an astronomy club)! 

Want to go to a star party and/or do some safe solar gazing? Astronomy clubs have lots of low-cost and free events and you don't need to know a thing about astronomy. Find your local club

Want more info on meteor showers? Our sky gazing partners at EarthSky have some great articles,
Draconid meteor shower will peak October 7-8, 2012 via EarthSky
Earth Sky's meteor shower guide for 2012


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Find star parties and solar viewings quickly using these apps or use the website!

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SkySafari, a powerful planetarium that fits in your pocket, lists Night Sky Network astronomy club star parties, safe solar gazing events, and lectures in the help menu. SkySafari is available for Android and the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Clear skies and happy stargazing!

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