Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseids are flying across our night skies these days! This is one of the best nights we’ve had for seeing them, thanks to clouds, haze, etc. The shower peaks Monday night but go out and have a look any evening over the next week.

This meteor shower is the result of earth passing through the debris trail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet last passed closest to us in 1992 and will again in 2126. Meanwhile, we keep passing through its trail of debris every summer. Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by earth. Pretty cool, right?

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The meteors are most numerous after 10:00. The later into the night we go, the more numerous they will become. Unfortunately, that moon keeps getting higher through the night too and it will hinder the view. Never the less, it could be worth a look!

I stepped out last night at about 10:00 and looked up for about 15 minutes before I saw one. It was a nice one, though, and worth the wait. The Perseids are well-known for their long tails.

Be patient and find a place with lots of dark sky. The meteors will average one per minute. Give your eyes time to adjust to the darkness (at least 15 minutes). Just look upward.

When you see one, you’re seeing the debris from a comet that is burning up. That is the meteor. Before the debris hits our atmosphere, the debris is referred to as meteoroids. If one makes it to the earth, it is a meteorite. Perseids are far too small to make it to earth.

These meteors will be traveling at about 37 miles per second!

So, go out and look up! It sure is a nice night to do so!

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