The Perseid Meteor showers with more than 50 meteors per hour and occurs in the middle of August this year. However, because the full moon occurs at the same time, the shower of meteors won’t be as bright.
This week and before the full moon might be the best time to view the night sky for meteors, if it is not overcast or cloudy.
We are fortunate that we live on a small farm with no yard lights, we can view the dark night sky and see lots of meteors. If I lived in town, I think I would drive to Long Pine Reservoir and park in the boat launch parking lot to view the meteor shower.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the best time to see the most meteors crossing the northern sky is during the pre-dawn hours, but any time after 10 o’clock, and for the remainder of the night, there will be enough meteors to view.
These meteors that we see every year in August are from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle Comet. Each year, the Earth passes through the tail of this comet in August consisting of particles of ice and material breaking from the comet. In 2121, if anyone really cares, the Earth and Comet will pass each other again, according to sky watchers.
From when I was a youngster hiding from the glare and heat of August under the porch with the dogs, I was told that these were the dog days of summer. Actually, August is the month when Orion’s hunting dogs once again appear in the night sky to follow Orion on his hunts until next spring. I’m not sure which story appeals to me most, but I don’t think I will crawl under the porch with the dogs any time soon.
Have you wondered why we aren’t seeing many ducks or geese flying just now? The Sioux called August the moon when geese shed their feathers. Without flight feathers, geese and ducks can’t fly, so they gather in flocks on protected waters, such as ponds and creeks to wait for their new feathers to grow.
August, according to ancient folklore, was known as the corn moon, which has always confused me because it wasn’t that many centuries ago that Squanto introduced the Pilgrims to corn, which was unknown to some Europeans at that time.
I think I like some of the other names for the August Moon. Some European cultures called it the Mead moon, when they fermented honey into the drink mead.
Others called it the wort moon, which has something to do with making beer, I think.
Many native North American tribes called it the Sturgeon Moon, when sturgeon moved into the shallows to spawn and could be easily captured for food. Many of the Great Lakes states have reintroduced sturgeon with good success, and anglers are catching them once again; although they must immediately return them to the water to make babies.
Other names for the August moon are buck moon, thunder moon, and blood moon.
I’m not sure how I feel about August moons, but I know we have to get them behind us so we can reach the harvest and hunting moons of fall.