Perseids Meteor Shower Is Here
So far, the Perseid meteor shower has been not very active in the Western Montana skies. Two different observers have noted only a few of the shooting stars the past few nights and those have been fairly early in the viewing time, when the Moon is not in the sky. The bright moon will be washing out the smaller meteors, but the annual event always brings a few big color streaks. The peak of the summer night sky display will be through Thursday, August 13. After midnight is usually the best time to see the Perseids, but any time after 11 p.m. is worth a look. Get out of the street lights and get comfortable, because there is often a bit of a wait between the meteors. The temperature Monday night was great and the next two nights should be similar. By the way, the peak of the shower is this week, but meteors will be seen from this shower until about August 24.
We're lucky to have dark skies here in Montana. That huge "river" of stars in the photo (see above) is easily seen in the Bitterroot Valley tonight. It's our Milky Way Galaxy. Alongside it tonight are the planets Jupiter and Saturn. Then, of course, there's the occasional satellite passing overhead. Settle back and relax. You don't need binoculars or telescopes, just watch as much of the sky as you can for the free show.