Perseid meteors streak through West Tennessee skies
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NORTH JACKSON — Meteors have been flashing through the night skies this week, but if you want to see this cosmic light show, there’s only a limited time left. “I was looking all over the sky, all over it. I was wanting so bad to see it,” Michelle Watkeys said. West Tennesseans have a better chance than ever to see a shooting star now through early Saturday morning.
“These are little, tiny particles, most of them less than the size of a green pea, but they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere at very high speeds,” retired astronomy professor Ronnie Barnes said. Astronomers say between three and four in the morning is the best viewing time for this meteor shower. “The meteor shower we are interested in this time is the Perseid meteor shower,” Barnes said. “That’s because it radiates from the constellation Perseid.” If you’re lucky, you might see meteors as early as twilight. “There should still be more meteors than you would see on a normal night,” Barnes said. “There’ll be some stragglers, you might say.” Experts say the best way to view this night sky display is to get away from light pollution, so finding an open field is your best option. “You don’t need binoculars to see meteors,” Barnes said. “Some of them can be quite bright, even as bright as the planet Venus.” Hub City residents say they’ll be watching.”It’s funny, my neighbor across the street saw one and he said it looked like a shooting star,” Watkeys said. “That’s how fast it went across the sky, and he said it was sort of like a reddish color.” Astronomers say the Earth passes through cosmic debris that causes the Perseid meteor shower only once a year, but they’re not always as visible as this one.