This weekend, in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll have a chance to see the Perseid meteor shower, which is one of the biggest and most impressive meteor showers.
On August 12th, the Earth will pass through the dusty remains left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. This will result in a shower of meteors lighting up the sky. If the weather is clear and the sky is dark, you could see around one Perseid meteor every minute just before dawn, according to NASA meteor scientist Bill Cooke.
The best view of the Perseid meteor shower will be in the Northern Hemisphere, according to NASA. This meteor shower is special because it’s known for its high meteor rates and the comfortable late-summer temperatures, making it a favorite among stargazers.
Did you know that the Perseid meteor shower once delayed the launch of a Space Shuttle? In 1993, NASA’s STS-51 launch was postponed due to concerns about the intense activity of the Perseid meteor shower. Even a small piece of debris from the meteor shower could potentially damage a spacecraft in Earth’s orbit.
But what exactly are the Perseids? They are a large meteor shower that happens every year in late summer. This occurs when the Earth moves through the debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet, a big ball of ice and rock. When our planet passes through this debris, the pieces ignite in our atmosphere, creating the bright streaks of light we see as shooting stars. The meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus because the meteors seem to originate from that area in the sky.
So, when and how can you watch the Perseid meteor shower? According to NASA’s Bill Cooke, people in the US could see around 40 Perseids in the hour just before dawn during the peak nights. This means you might see one every couple of minutes, which is pretty good. To get the best view, head to the countryside away from bright city lights. In suburban areas, where the skies are brighter, you might only see 10 or fewer meteors in an hour.
The meteor shower is already active this year, but the main event will happen this weekend. Starting around 11 pm local time on Saturday, you might see a few meteors every 15 minutes or so. The pace will pick up as the night progresses, with the most meteors appearing just before dawn on Sunday.
To see the Perseid meteor shower at its best, you’ll need a clear, dark sky. And remember, the Northern Hemisphere is the prime spot for this dazzling celestial show.”
(Source from Associated Press and NASA)