Meteor Viewing in Your Hot Tub? Here are our top tips.
August 11, 2017 – Lights! Action! Let the showers begin! One of the spectacles of late summer comes from the sky above. This is the time for peak meteor watching, and a late night or early morning trip to the hot tub might be your most advantages and comfortable viewing destination.
There are two of these celestial events to enjoy during this remarkable summer show. The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower occurs from mid-July through mid-August. Although this shower tends to favor the Southern Hemisphere, we Northerners still get a front row seat. On moonless nights this shower can produce from 10-20 meteors an hour. About 5-10 percent of Delta Aquarid meteors leave glowing ionized gas trails lasting a few seconds after the meteor has passed. If you ever happen upon this spectacle, also known as persistent meteor trains, trust me, you’ll want to see more.
Taking center stage in the summer sky is the Perseid Meteor Shower, August’s main nighttime attraction. A much-anticipated event for star gazers, the Perseids are actually gifts of meteorite producing debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, the largest object known to consistently pass by the Earth. The time to start watching is now, but the peak performance will occur this weekend during the early mornings of August 12th and 13th. This year’s waning gibbous moon will make the sky brighter than optimal for meteor viewing, but the Perseid meteors tend to be bright. Under the right conditions expect to see 40-50 meteors an hour. If you’re patient, you might be rewarded with a meteor train brilliant enough to overcome the moonlit conditions.
A few suggestions for better viewing under these conditions:
- Make your environment as dark as possible. Turn off every light in your home, and those in and around your tub
- View in the late evening before the moon rises or during the early morning when the meteor stream is the fullest.
- Watch for meteor trains. They’re more likely to be visible in a moonlit sky.
- The more eyes the better. Invite friends to join you. Face different directions, and when one of you sees a meteor, call out “meteor!” to the group.
- View in the “moon shadow” created by natural or manmade objects.
Here’s hoping you’re able to catch a glimpse of this phenomenal event in the watery comfort of your hot tub. But if all else fails… enjoy the moonlight!