Why the Perseid Meteor Shower Blazes Through the Sky Every Summer

Perseid meteor shower

Perseid meteor shower

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak the night of August 12, into the wee hours of the morning on August 13.

Twarog describes the Perseid meteor shower as "spectacular", however he doesn't get too excited about the event.

Lucky observers may see the occasional meteor sailing across the sky for several seconds, leaving behind a trail of glowing smoke.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the dust and debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, bringing pieces of the comet into the upper atmosphere that light up the sky as they burn up.

During the Perseid meteor shower, spectators will see about 60 to 70 meteors per hour.

"The moon is very favorable for the Perseids this year, and that'll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it", NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com.

This means no excess light to interfere with the often colourful exploding comet fragments.

Dim meteors appear as a momentary flash of light while the brighter ones leave a glowing streak.

Though the Perseids can be spotted between July 17 and August 24, the best views will be from Sunday at 4 p.m.to Monday at 4 a.m. EST, when the night is almost moonless.

But what if you're unable to get to that dark site, or - worse yet - what if your weather is poor?

This year's shower will be putting on its best display for those in Europe, but as it's peak last so long, from the 11th to 12th, it should also put on a spectacular display for the USA and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere.

"And interestingly, most of these meteors are amazingly small", she says. The shower begins to peak on Friday, and the busiest stretch and the best viewing, according to NASA, will be from midnight Sunday through the predawn hours of Monday.

If you're planning on watching the Perseid meteor shower, bear in mind that it will take at least 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The showers are named after the constellation Perseus because the direction from which they come in the sky lies in the same radiant as Perseus.

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