The Perseids, often hailed as the most impressive Meteor Shower of the year, is to happen once again. During the Perseids’ peak this month, spectators can see about 60-70 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (as in 2016) the rate can be around 150 to 200 meteors an hour.
The peak meteor showers are visible during August 11-13 every year.
Why does Perseids Meteor Shower occur?
A comet named Swift-Tuttle, that was about 26 km wide, passed Earth during its orbit around the sun, in the year 1992. Even though the next time we will have an experience with the comet is only in 2126, we have been passing through its dust and debris every year. This causes the Perseids Meteor Shower annually.
When the comet debris enter earth’s atmosphere, they heat up and burn with a bright burst of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky. These comet debris travel at a speed of about 59 km/h and are known as “meteors”. The Perseids, actually, got its name from the constellation Perseus. This is because that is where the meteors seem to originate from when we look up at the sky.
Some Facts about Perseids Meteor Shower
- Planets Mars and Saturn will also be visible to the sky watchers who will be looking out for the Perseids meteor shower.
- The shower will happen prior to the new moon, meaning the night sky will be dark and also perfect for meteor spotting. Under clear and dark skies, observers could expect to see hundreds of shooting stars an hour.
- There’s no 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 that evening. Further, the Perseids 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 “