VALDOSTA — In mid-August of each year, the Earth is bombarded by hundreds of tons of extra-terrestrial debris; remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle’s passage in 1862.
But Valdosta residents need not worry, according to Valdosta State University officials, as these tiny dust particles burn up in the Earth's atmosphere as meteors. This week brings the Perseids, traditionally the finest of the annual meteor showers, according to VSU Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences.
"The Perseid meteor shower lasts from Aug. 10-14," according to university officials. "The meteors will appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeast at midnight this time of year. Observers do not need to be able to identify Perseus to enjoy this event, however. One need only look toward the northeast after dusk, anywhere from 30 to 80 degrees above the horizon.
"Although meteors should be visible all night, their number is expected to increase after midnight. This year’s display is, unfortunately, not predicted to be very good, as the moon (which will be full on Aug. 15) will brighten our sky."
The best place to observe the Perseid meteor shower would be a dark open area (such as a field or golf course) unobstructed by trees or structures, which is far from city lights, they said.
"The darker the sky the better," VSU officials said. "Because meteors are not amenable to telescopic observation, and because our campus is fairly bright at night, the VSU Observatory will not be open for this event."