Meteor ‘outburst’ lights up skies over the Palouse

From his backyard in Moscow, Idaho, Henry Moore captured a Perseid meteor illuminating the after-midnight sky. (Nikon D3 with a 20-40mm Tamron zoom set to 28mm, F/4, ISO 2000)

By Linda Weiford, WSU News

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Palouse offered some of the best seats in the house for stargazers during the recent Perseid meteor shower. The convergence of warm temperatures, cloudless skies and scant light pollution made for prime viewing.

Henry Moore, who works at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine by day, captured this picture on Friday at 1:10 a.m. in his home’s backyard in Moscow, Idaho. Considering that most of the streaking meteors – or shooting stars as laypersons call them – were visible for less than a second, the spectacular display was not easy to shoot, he said.

Nonetheless, during the three hours that Moore snapped photographs of meteors zooming through Earth’s atmosphere at more than 130,000 miles per hour, he captured a gem.

Though Perseids make an appearance every August, NASA elevated this year’s show to an “outburst” because twice as many fell as usual. The flaring bits were remnants of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years, leaving billions of particles in its wake.


Henry Moore, WSU, 509-335-2625,
Linda Weiford, WSU News, 509-335-7209,



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