Science Space

Perseids meteor shower: Watch it overnight Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13

perseids time lapse

Are you a sky or space watcher? Well, this year is pretty great for all the space fans as in the past few months, a number of celestial events and phenomenon took place and 2018 has few more left in its treasury. One of the best meteor showers of 2018 is the Perseids meteor shower which is ongoing and will peak between August 11-12 and August 12-13 (overnight).

The Perseids meteor show produces 60 to 70 meteors an hour in normal years where the meteors enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up producing a spectacular celestial show. Perseids’ last outbursts of meteors were recorded in 2016 when it produced around 250 to 200 meters an hour. Bill Cooke, a NASA meteor expert, helped clear few doubts and rumors that have spread with the onset of Perseids including that it will be visible during the daytime too and that, it will be the brightest shower in the human history which isn’t true at all.

Back in 1993, Perseids reached a high of 300 meteors an hour after which, 1993 was christened as the year when Perseids reached a threshold that it hasn’t crossed yet. This year, the show will be spectacular because the moon will be in its crescent stage and will set before the meteor shower begins making it one of the most stunning and mesmerizing meteor shower experience.

The Perseids occurred when the Earth passed through the dust left by comet Swift-Tuttle that was discovered in 1862. The debris left behind by the comet enters the Earth’s atmosphere at a velocity of 37 miles per second and burns upon entry and that’s what produces its fireball appearance that can be seen across large distances. The Perseids peaks when the Earth passes through the dustiest and densest area of the debris left by the comet where it could produce more than 200 meteors an hour.

The meteors which could be as small as the size of a grain of sand, fall between the constellations of Cassiopeia and Perseus which are visible across a large distance. You can get the best shot at the meteor show if you escape in dark sky preserves or if you escape in a rural area where the light pollution is lower and doesn’t dim away the light propagating from the meteor shower.

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