Perseid meteor shower on your mind? Check out these online resources for newbie astronomers plus 6 Firefox themes for daytime stargazing.
Every summer I say I’m going to go watch the meteor showers, but life always seems to get in the way. This year, however, I scored a last minute midweek campsite on the Washington coast so I can take in the Perseid meteor shower away from city lights. While the Perseids are ongoing from mid-July to the end of August, they are expected to peak on the night of August 11 all around the world. This year’s Perseid event is predicted to be extra special due to the waxing crescent moon, which is to say, the moon will be a mere sliver in the sky. Less moonlight means the sky is darker, which means meteor showers appear brighter.
Interested in learning more? Here are some internet resources for newbie astronomers out there:
- Getting away from human-made light is essential to a great stargazing experience. This light pollution map can help you find a nearby spot with maximum darkness. Plus, there’s a layer for cloud coverage and aurora forecasts.
- The Perseid meteor shower may be one of the largest, but they’re not the only ones. Check out these detailed tips for meteor shower viewing all year around from EarthSky.
- The American Meteor Society has just about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about meteors in the U.S., including a volunteer reporting system for fireballs, which are extra large, extra bright meteors.
- If you take a photos, or it didn’t happen approach, these tips for photographing meteor showers from NASA are just what you need.
- The New York Times has a free space-related events calendar you subscribe to for staying updated about major events like meteor showers, rocket launches, scientific missions and more.
- Want to know what’s happening in your night sky on any given day? This interactive sky chart from Sky & Telescope magazine lets you add your location and it gives you a personalized sky chart. Plus, they have tons of great tips for getting started as a backyard astronomer.
Our mysterious, magnificent MoonGet to know our nearest celestial neighbor a little bit better with this lunar reading list
Firefox themes for daytime stargazing
If you work at a computer all day, a fun thing about Firefox is that you can style your browser with a colorful theme. Keep the Perseid inspiration going all day at the keyboard with a free space-themed skin for Firefox. Browser themes are easy to install and change any time you’re in the mood.