Every year, from mid-July to late August, Earth passes via a cosmic junk heap that pelts our planet with hundreds of tiny house rocks no wider than a grain of sand. We name this annual occasion the Perseid meteor bathe – or just the Perseids.
This 12 months, the Perseids peak at nighttime hours between 11 August and 12. Sadly, the truth that there is a vivid full moon across the identical time will dampen the present.
You might be able to see 10-20 meteors per hour throughout the peak, in keeping with NASA – down from the 50 to 60 per hour seen on a non-full-moon 12 months.
Nonetheless, it’s best to be capable of catch some taking pictures stars within the nights main as much as the height, as nicely.
The Perseids are one of the crucial common and constant meteor showers of the 12 months. They happen every summer time when our planet passes via the huge tail of particles dropped by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which made its final shut method to Earth in 1992.
As Earth swoops via the comet’s icy, rocky leftovers, small bits of particles plunge via our environment, heating as much as greater than 3,000 levels Fahrenheit (1,650 Celsius) and streaking via the sky at greater than 100,000 mph (160,000 km/h), in keeping with NASA.
Most of those tiny meteors burn to a crisp within the environment, although a uncommon few crash land on the planet’s floor, whereupon they earn the brand new title “meteorites”.
Whereas the Perseids final a number of weeks, the best spectacle begins when Earth passes via the densest a part of comet Swift-Tuttle’s particles cloud.
On a typical 12 months, stargazers can count on to see about 60 meteors per hour throughout the bathe’s peak, in keeping with NASA.
This 12 months, that quantity will probably be significantly decrease, as the total Sturgeon Moon will obscure a few of these falling rocks with its vivid mild.
To present your self one of the best shot at seeing the Perseids peak, Reside Science’s sister web site House.com recommends heading out to the darkest place you’ll find within the pre-dawn hours of 12 August or one of many nights main as much as the height.
Settle in, as your eyes can take as much as 30 minutes to regulate to the darkness, and look north towards the constellation Perseus, which follows behind the brilliant W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia.
(Meteor showers are sometimes named after the constellation from which the meteors seem to radiate – on this case, Perseus. In actuality, the meteors are proper there within the environment.)
People have been watching the Perseids for hundreds of years. In 1862, two astronomers – Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle – independently found a large near-Earth comet, now referred to as Comet Swift-Tuttle.
A couple of years later, one other astronomer realized that this comet produced the Perseid meteor bathe, in keeping with NASA.
Comet Swift-Tuttle is very large – in reality, NASA says, it is the biggest object recognized to repeatedly fly previous Earth. The comet’s nucleus (the strong, central a part of the comet, separate from the brilliant glow that surrounds it) measures about 16 miles (26 kilometers) huge.
Swift-Tuttle orbits the Solar, finishing a full cross each 133 years. Astronomers have calculated the large house rock’s trajectory hundreds of years into the long run, and have discovered that the comet doesn’t pose any menace of colliding with Earth on its present path.
Swift-Tuttle will make an exceptionally shut flyby within the 12 months 3044, in keeping with House.com, when it should cross inside 1,000,000 miles of our planet. That is painfully shut in astronomical phrases – nevertheless it’s nonetheless twice the common distance between Earth and the Moon, that means there’s little threat for no matter life inhabits the Earth 1,000 years from now.
Associated content material: