Want a good nightscape tomorrow night? Hoping of course our cloudy sky lifts a bit here are some gear you might need: steady tripod, remote shutter, a good sized CF card-say 4 GB, VF cover, and some good music. Below is an excerpt that was copied and pasted. Read on and charge those batteries.

Planets Align for the Perseids Meteor Shower by Dr. Tony Phillip

FROM: http://science.nasa.gov

August 5, 2010: You know it’s a good night when a beautiful alignment of planets is the second best thing that’s going to happen.

Thursday, August 12th, is such a night.

perseidmap_strip

Looking northeast around midnight on August 12th-13th. The red dot is the Perseid radiant. Although Perseid meteors can appear in any part of the sky, all of their tails will point back to the radiant.

The show begins at sundown when Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon pop out of the western twilight in tight conjunction. All four heavenly objects will fit within a circle about 10 degrees in diameter, beaming together through the dusky colors of sunset. No telescope is required to enjoy this naked-eye event.

The planets will hang together in the western sky until 10 pm or so. When they leave, following the sun below the horizon, you should stay, because that is when the Perseid meteor shower begins. From 10 pm until dawn, meteors will flit across the starry sky in a display that’s even more exciting than a planetary get-together.

The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years the huge comet swings through the inner solar system and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel. When Earth passes through the debris, specks of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. These meteors are called Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus.