A trip to the moonlit countryside on August 12-13 will be rewarded by a display of Perseids, albeit fewer than usual. A good time to look on those nights might be during the hours after sunset when the Moon is still hanging low in the sky and the constellation Perseus is rising in the northeast. Such an arrangement can produce a special type of meteor called an earthgrazer. Earthgrazers emerge from the horizon and skim the top of the atmosphere above the observer, a bit like a stone skipping across the surface of a pond. An hour's watching might net no more than one or two of this special kind of meteor, but that's plenty. Earthgrazers are colorful and gracefully slow, a rare beauty that makes any meteor-watch worthwhile.
Got clouds? You can listen to the Perseids live on Space Weather Radio. www.spaceweather.com