A new Lowell Observatory meteor tracking camera system, consisting of 16 video cameras, is poised to monitor the Meteor Crater rains of the 201
Scientists hope to see one of the best meteor showers of the year from one of the most scenic spots on earth: the Meteor Crater of Arizona
Astronomers at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona have activated a new meteor video surveillance system at the Meteor Crater (formerly known as Barringer Crater) just in time for the Perseid meteor shower this weekend of 2018.
The Perseid Meteor Shower will be over night tonight (Aug 12-13), with between 60-70 meteors for observers clear, dark sky away from city lights visible. The meteor shower occurs every year when the earth crosses dust from comet Swift-Tuttle. [Perseid Meteor Shower 2018: When, Where & How to See It]
The new tracking system in the Meteor Crater will observe Perseid meteors with 16 video cameras monitoring the entire night sky. Meteor Crater is about 35 miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona. It was caused by the impact of an asteroid 50 meters wide that hit the earth 50,000 years ago.
"The cameras locate resorts for large meteors that hit Earth," said Nick Moskovitz of the Lowell Observatory in a statement. "Our goal is to discover new meteor showers and to better understand meteors and their connection to asteroids and comets in the solar system."
Moskovitz heads the Lowell Observatory CAMS project, or LO-CAMS, part of the larger cameras for the All-Sky Meteor Surveillance Project (CAMS), led by Meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.
CAMS meteor tracking systems use a network of 16 video cameras per location instead of a single all-sky camera with a fisheye lens to track meteors.
"Because this approach uses much more sensitive cameras, trajectories are calculated for hundreds of meteors per night and published almost immediately on the Web," Moskovitz said. "By measuring these orbits with great accuracy, we can determine where they come from in the solar system."
The new LO-CAMS system is the second built by the Lowell Observatory. The first one is at the observatory itself in Flagstaff, Arizona. Meteor Crater Enterprises, which oversees tours and other facilities at Meteor Crater, funded the new Meteor Observation Station.
If bad weather spoils your Perseid meteor shower this weekend, you can watch a live webcast here Service Slooh. The 6-hour webcast will begin at 5pm. EDT (2100 GMT) and you can see it directly on Slooh.com.
Editor's Note: If you're shooting a fantastic photo of the Perseid Meteor Shower that you would like to share with Space.com and our news partners for a possible story or gallery, send pictures and comments to spacefotos @ space.com