SUNRIVER, OR -- Stargazers are rejoicing at the perfect combination of increased meteor activity and decreased moonlight during this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower. Bob Grossfeld, Manager of the Oregon Observatory in Sunriver, tells KBND News the best viewing will be between midnight and 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday morning. "The Perseid is really good because there are a lot of bright meteors, so even in town, you can sit in your hot tub and look up and see a few. If you really want to enjoy it, you want to go east or west of Bend, the darker the better. But, we’ve seen quite a few bright ones." He says the most activity will be in the northern sky, but Central Oregonians simply looking up will likely see a few.
Although the astronomical event happens every year, Grossman says, "This year is a little bit better because the predictions of the amount of meteors we’ll see is greater. Normally, Perseid is 50-100 an hour. This year, they’re jumping that up to 200 per hour; I’ve even seen some reports it could potentially be 300 per hour."
While the best viewing is Thursday and Friday night, shooting-star activity will be seen for another week, until the moon gets too bright. "What we’re experiencing is debris left over from a comet called Swift-Tuttle, and that comet leaves behind parts of ice pebbles- if you want to think of it that way- they’re basically the size of grains of sand. We run into it at high speed and we see a falling star, or meteor. It really isn’t a star, it’s just debris burning up on the atmosphere."