": Perseids Meteor
Showers this Weekend!"
Expect a star shower this weekend
Published 01:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 9, 2011
South Texas Stargazing
The San Antonio Astronomical Association invites you to
participate in all of its public astronomy events. It's free,
and you can view the calendar at www.sanantonioastronomy.org.
The Perseid meteor shower is coming to town, and it's famous for
putting pizzazz in the night sky.
The shower peaks Friday and Saturday, but a full moon Saturday
will hamper seeing all but the brightest meteors as they streak
across the night sky.
If you are determined to catch a few, find a place that is away
from light pollution and position yourself so the moon is out of
view. Use a building or tree to block the moon and you should be
able to see a few of the brighter Perseids as they arrive from
the northeast after midnight.
A bright International Space Station pass will be visible Friday
Gaze toward the northwest at 6:03 a.m. for a moving speck of
The ISS will continue its trek high across the predawn sky and
fly through Taurus around 6:05 a.m. and then glide beside the
bright star Rigel marking Orion's foot a minute later.
The pass will end at 6:08 a.m. in the southeast.
If you're not an early bird, the ISS makes another appearance
Friday evening at 8:57 p.m. in the southwest.
Watch for it to move through the stinger area of Scorpius the
scorpion at 8:59 p.m. and then glide through the teapot shape of
Sagittarius 30 seconds later.
The station will continue in an arc and fly above the moon after
its encounter with Sagittarius and then vanish in the northeast
at 9:03 p.m.
If you want to challenge yourself with an unusual target, try
finding the bright asteroid Vesta.
Vesta sits in the constellation Capricornus, the goat, and can
be spied as a 6th magnitude stellar spot of light.
It's really easy to find with the star map at
You'll need binoculars to aid in the search, but once you find
it, you might be able to view it with the naked eye depending on
your sky conditions.
If you're not sure you have located Vesta, make a quick sketch
of the star field and then wait a few nights and look again. If
the little speck of light moves, then you've hit the jackpot.
An image of Vesta can be found at
If the name Vesta sounds familiar, it's because it's been in the
news lately and you've heard stories about NASA's Dawn
spacecraft orbiting it.
Dawn began orbiting Vesta July 15, and will study this rocky
asteroid for a year, after which it will fly to its second
target, the dwarf planet Ceres in 2012.
This will be the first time a spacecraft will orbit two solar
system targets beyond Earth.
E-mail Becky Ramotowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Skywatch