KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a show for sky-watchers Thursday night and Friday morning, a University of Tennessee astronomer said Wednesday.
The hours of peak activity will start around 10 p.m. Thursday and continue until daybreak, Paul Lewis of the UT-Knoxville Physics Department, said.
The meteors will appear to originate in the east, northeast sky. The best viewing is somewhere away from the glow of city lights, he said.
“Go someplace where you feel comfortable getting out of the car and lying down,” he said. “Point your feet south, look straight up and just enjoy the meteors as they cross the sky.”
The meteors are actually small particles of comet dust that ionize and glow when they strike the Earth’s atmosphere, Lewis said. The particles, cast off from the Swift-Tuttle comet, can vary in size from pinhead-sized specks to grains of rice, and the colors can range from orange to blue.
Lewis will be giving a talk about the meteor shower in the parking lot of the Bandy Creek Campground in the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area at 10 p.m., Thursday.
Members of the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society will have telescopes available for viewing celestial objects, but they won’t be needed to see the meteors, Lewis said.
More information about sky-watching events in the Big South Fork is available at 931-879-3625. Lewis can be reached at 423-974-8715.