Perseids Meteor Shower to Peak August 12-13 {Video}

The Perseids are one of the best and well-known of the meteor showers and can be seen in late July and through August each year, with the maximum activity on or around 12/13 August.

The best direction to look for Perseids is generally in the direction of the Square of Pegasus or the Big Dipper. The Perseid rate can exceed 100 meteors per hour at maximum, as seen from a dark site and with the radiant high in the sky.

Also, you can share watching for the Perseids with the rest of the world via MeteorWatch.org.


Heres a little history on Perseids:

Some meteoroids originate from material ejected by comets as they pass through the inner solar system.  The Perseids were the first meteor shower to be connected with a comet when astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli noted the similarity between their orbit and that of Comet Swift-Tuttle which was observed in 1862.  Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun about every 135 years.

Its last perihelion (the point where it is closest to the Sun) was in 1992 and the next is in 2126.  The debris trail is thickest nearer the comet, so the Perseids were highly active in the early 1990s with several hundred meteors per hour at the annual maximum.

As the Earth crosses Swift-Tuttle’s orbit it sweeps up some of the debris released by the comet on previous orbits. This burns up in the atmosphere as a meteor, but the particles in the Perseids are much too small to reach the ground as a meteorite.

The density of the trail does vary so the number of meteors can change in a matter of hours.  For that reason it is always worth watching a few days or week or so either side of maximum.

Fortunately, the Perseids tend to have quite a lot of bright meteors, so there is still a very good chance of seeing some this year. Unfortunately, this year, there will be a full moon, which may make it harder to see all the meteors.

h/t Extinction Protocol

Photo Credit: Mell P

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