Every year around August 11th the Perseid meteor shower offers a fantastic sky show. This year’s is particularly dazzling because of a thin, waning moon. We are at the peak of the annual event, but it’s possible to see some of it until as late as August 24th.
NASA declared the Perseid shower to be the fireball champion of all meteor showers because of its high concentration of bright meteors. As many as 100 per hour may be seen.
Every year at this time the Earth passes through the orbit of the Swift Tuttle comet where tiny specks of 1,000 year-old dust from the comet charge at the Earth’s atmosphere at 37 miles per second, vaporize from the friction with the air, and leave behind a streak of light known as meteors.
Of all the events we attend over the summer, this one is especially memorable. If you want to catch the shower, try to get away from the city lights. The darker the area, the brighter it all will appear.
You can see an excellent video on the meteor shower at: http://www.space.com/22129-best-meteor-shower-arrives-in-august-video.html or go to www.science.nasa.gov for general information.
©2013, Mary K. Doyle