Get Ready For The Spectacular Perseid Meteor Showers

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Photo Credit: Space.com

Every year about this time, stargazers start to get excited about the Perseids, the biggest and most spectacular of all meteor showers. The "shooting stars" are already streaming through our skies at the rate of about a dozen an hour. However, from August 11 to 14, the pace will accelerate to almost a hundred an hour, making them fairly easy to spot even without a telescope. The best part is that unlike last year, there will be no "super" supermoon to steal their thunder.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Called Perseid because they seem to spurt from the constellation Perseus, the meteors, which penetrate the Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 140,000 mph are debris left behind by the comet, Swift-Tuttle as it traveled through the area on its 132-135-year orbit.

Photo Credit: Space.com

They are observed annually when the Earth traverses through the cloud of comet dust as it orbits around the sun. The meteor showers can be seen from most parts of the world. But thanks to the path of Swift-Tuttle's orbit, the best views are reserved for the residents of the Northern Hemisphere.

The popularity of the Perseids can be attributed to two things. They are the most reliable of the 64 meteor showers that are visible from Earth annually.

More importantly though is the number of fireballs, - meteors as bright or even brighter than Jupiter and Venus - that come hurtling towards earth. NASA scientists who have nicknamed the Perseids "fireball" champions, believe that the size of the meteors is a result of Swift-Tuttle's large (26 km diameter) nucleus. They speculate that it created hundreds of meteoroids, many of which are large enough to produce fireballs.

Image Credit: skyandtelescope.com

To make the most of the incredible show, experts recommend getting away from bright city lights. Also, as is the case with most celestial events, the best time to view the showers is during the predawn hours (between 1:00 am and 5:00 am.) And finally, though the shooting stars will be coming down in earnest from August 11 to 14, the best day to catch them is during the early hours of August 13, when a new moon will ensure perfect viewing conditions. So be sure to mark your calendars and do make wish or two - they may even come true!

Resources: Space.com,science.NASA.gov. earthsky.org, usatoday.com

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158 Comments
  • drgamer
    drgamerSaturday, October 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm
    AHHHHHhhhhhhhhh!11!1!!!!!!111 the sky is falllllllllling
    • demosthenes
      demosthenesTuesday, October 27, 2015 at 6:41 am
      LOL
    • dgtigersFriday, October 2, 2015 at 11:31 am
      cool
      • AshlyFriday, October 2, 2015 at 9:54 am
        I think this artical is very intristing !!!!!
        • nicolettaThursday, October 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm
          I love it
          • nicolettaThursday, October 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm
            I love it
            • AnonymousMonday, September 28, 2015 at 10:42 am
              That would s amazing
              • reyes
                reyesFriday, September 25, 2015 at 11:01 am
                I wish i had a time machine to see it in real life
                • MarcoThursday, September 17, 2015 at 9:06 pm
                  this is very interesting
                  • LJGThursday, September 17, 2015 at 6:12 pm
                    Wow pretty lights!!
                    • 3710346Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm
                      I really saw that meteorite shower.It was totally awesome!I wish there are more.And there's going to be a blood moon in september 29!!!!!!!!!!!