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Gary Boyle, The Backyard Astronomer
Solar Eclipse and Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower - In our yearly lap around the Sun, Earth is approaching the dusty debris left over from the passage of Comet Swift-Tuttle. This comet produces one of the best meteor showers of the year – the Perseids. We plough through this celestial cloud from July 17 to August 24, with the peak or most meteors seen on the night of August 12/13. This show produces 100 or more meteors per hour but a pesky gibbous moon will rise on August 12 at about 11 p.m. local time. With 71% of the lunar surface still lit, the glow will wash out the fainter meteors. But it is a weekend event.

Total Solar Eclipse - The long anticipated total eclipse of the Sun over North America will take place on Monday August 21. The path of totality crosses 14 states with partial phases seen from all parts of Canada. I cannot emphasize enough, that people should not look at the Sun without proper protection. Dark sunglasses will not protect from direct viewing. Various ways to safely observe the partial event:

  • Eclipse glasses can be purchased from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. (www.rasc.ca) follow the links.
  • Baader solar filter for telescopes, binoculars and camera lenses - search online from telescope dealers.
  • #14 welders glass can be purchased from most local welding supply dealers. Not high enough quality to use with camera. Use Baader film.
  • Build a pinhole camera form various web sites. Image safely cast at the opposite and of a shoe box.
  • Trees produce natural pinhole cameras with hundreds of crescent suns appear in its shadow.
  • There might be eclipse viewing parties in your area. Contact your local astronomy club for details. I have attached a map showing coverage in your area.
  • Watch it on the internet. Many sites will be streaming.

Clear skies,
Gary Boyle
The Backyard Astronomer
Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle

Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2017 09:34:35 AM EST

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