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Perseids Meteor Shower: The August Fireballs

The Perseids are often the most impressive Meteor Shower of the year. According to Bill Cooke, NASA meteor expert, the Perseids be the best shower of the year. During the Perseids’ peak this month, spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour.

“The peak meteor showers are visible during Aug. 11-13 every year”, said Cooke.

Why does Perseids Meteor Shower occur?

In 1992, a comet by the name Swift-Tuttle, about 26 km wide, passed the Earth during its orbit around the sun. Even though our next date with the comet is only in 2126, we pass through its dust and debris every year. This causes the annual Perseids Meteor Shower.

Actually, when the comet debris enters the atmosphere, they heat up and burn in a bright burst of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky. Traveling at a speed of about 59 km/h, the pieces of the comet debris are known as “meteors”. The Perseids, in fact, got its name from the constellation Perseus. This is because that is where the meteors seem to originate from when looking up at the sky.

Some Facts about Perseids Meteor Shower 

  • Mars and Saturn will also be visible to the sky-watchers who will be looking out for the Perseids.
  • The shower will happen prior to the new moon. Most importantly, meaning the night sky will be dark and also perfect to meteor spotting. Under clear and dark skies, observers could expect to see up to 100s of shooting stars an hour.
  • There will not be any requirement of additional equipment like a telescope to see the meteor shower. These fiery streaks of light will be visible to the naked eye of the stargazers and astronomy lovers that evening. But the Perseid meteor shower will be significantly visible in the areas away from light pollution, i.e. in the rural areas..

Video Courtesy –  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Akshat Mishra
Akshat Mishrahttps://www.scilynk.in
Akshat Mishra is a Physics Undergraduate at Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, Mumbai. He feels the need to explore the depths of the not-so-dark universe while at the same time watch the quanta in action. Electronic Music is what puts him in the thinking zone.

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