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Perseids in 2011

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In 2011, the peak activity of the Perseid meteor shower is expected to occur around 2:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, during the night of August 12 to 13. That alone would be good news for observers in Quebec, since this maximum will occur during the later part of the night, as the radiant of the shower (the area of the sky located in the constellation Perseus, from which the meteors seem to originate) reaches its greatest elevation in the sky. However, observation of the Perseid meteors will be spoiled this year by the presence of the moon, which will be full at 14:57 EDT on August 13 – only hours after the Perseids reach their peak.

This means that the full moon will be up from dusk to dawn for the few days around the maximum of the Perseids, and its glaring light will overpower the fainter meteors. Under the circumstances, it will be of little use to try and escape the light pollution from cities and suburbs and find darker skies out in the country.

Still, it should be possible to see a few of the brighter shooting stars: just make sure to face the section of the sky that's opposite to the moon, and avoid looking at sources of light that might be around you – this includes the moon itself, of course! But don't expect an overwhelming display of meteors: under such conditions, less than ten meteors per hour will be visible, provided the sky is not too hazy.

Still, we should hope for clear weather …

Follow the techniques on our Observating shooting stars page, for a safe and enjoyable observation.

Have your wish-list ready, and enjoy the Perseids!  

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