Metro Detroit weather: Tracking Friday storms

Will we be able to see the Perseid Meteor Shower?

Paul Gross takes a look at the upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower. (WDIV)
Paul Gross takes a look at the upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower. (WDIV)

DETROIT – As I mentioned yesterday, we’re in the middle of another dry spell, and there’s still only one chance for rain for the next seven days.  Tonight will feature increasing clouds, with only the slight chance for a late-night shower, most of us will remain dry. Lows in the mid 60s (18 degrees Celsius). Light south wind.

Mostly cloudy on Friday with scattered showers and thunderstorms becoming most numerous during the afternoon. Many of us won’t get enough rain to make much of a difference in our dry conditions but, at this point, we’ll take anything we can get. Highs in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees (26-27 degrees Celsius).  Southwest wind at 10-15 mph.

Friday’s sunrise is at 6:37 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 8:39 p.m.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms end Friday evening, with partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies overnight. Lows near 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius).

Becoming mostly cloudy on Saturday, and it’ll be a cooler day, with highs in the mid 70s (24 degrees Celsius).

Becoming partly cloudy Saturday night, hopefully, enough clearing will take place to see the Perseid Meteor Shower (details later in the article). Lows in the upper 50s (14-15 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Sunday, with highs near 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Sunday night, with lows near 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Monday, with highs near 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs in the mid 80s (29-30 degrees Celsius), and overnight lows in the low 60s (16-17 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Thursday, with highs in the mid 80s (30 degrees Celsius).

The computer models don’t agree on when our next chance for rain is…some models suggest Friday, while others hold things off until Saturday. Stay tuned, we need the water.

Perseid Meteor Shower details

This weekend is the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, which is one of the year’s most popular since it occurs during the summer. However, we have a couple of things working against us this year. First, the meteor shower’s peak occurs during the day on Saturday, which obviously favors the other side of the world since it’ll be during their nighttime. Second, we’ll have a bright moon in the sky during the time to watch, so moonlight will wash out the fainter meteors. However, we definitely will be able to see any bright Perseids that occur.

So, when to look? Both Friday night and Saturday night between midnight and dawn are the times to watch, although there’s a question as to if enough clouds will move out in time Friday night. Why so late at night? That’s because the radiant, which is the point in the sky where the meteors originate from, rises in the northeast around midnight. Can you see anything before midnight? It’s possible to see one or two, but the best chances occur after midnight. Just face northeast and look halfway up. Don’t focus on any particular star…keep a broad visual perspective.

The most astounding thing about these meteors is that they are a piece of rock about the size of a Grape Nuts cereal nugget hitting our atmosphere at over 133,000 miles per hour and burning up due to friction! Once a year, the earth passes through a trail of “nugget debris” left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, and the result is the famous Perseid Meteor Shower. There are other comet debris trails throughout the year that give us other meteor showers, such as the Leonids in November. The best conditions are no clouds and a dark sky. So, no moonlight, and a viewing location away from the light pollution created by our big cities gives you the best opportunity to see some.

And by the way, there’s a rumor going around the Internet that this year’s Perseids will be the best in ninety-six years. That is emphatically not true. Yes, it’s fake space news.

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