Perseid meteor shower: When it peaks

The Perseid meteor shower, usually one of the most vivid showers visible each year, will peak on Friday and Saturday. 

However, according to NASA, the full moon will impact the view. 

“Sadly, this year’s Perseids peak will see the worst possible circumstances for spotters,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke, who heads the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a statement. 

“Most of us in North America would normally see 50 or 60 meteors per hour,” he said, “but this year, during the normal peak, the full moon will reduce that to 10-20 per hour at best.”

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The moon is brighter than anything else in the night sky. 

It will wash out everything but the very brightest Perseids.

The shower will begin to wane on Aug. 21 and 22, stopping entirely by Sept. 1. 

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The Perseids occur when Earth crosses through the stream of debris remnants of the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle and its meteors – most of which are pea-sized – create bright “shooting stars” as they burn up in the planet’s atmosphere.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, or the shower’s “radiant,” but can be seen streaking across the sky anywhere at a speed of 37 miles per second.

The shower is also known for its fireballs, which can last longer than an average meteor streak.

Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun every 133 years. 

The comet itself won’t be visible to Earth again until 2125.

NASA says there is no chance the planet will soon run into the comet. 


Source: Science

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