Once a year, from mid-July to the end of August, the Earth passes by thousands of tiny space rocks. People know this event as the Perseid meteor shower, or simply the Perseids.
This year, the Perseids reach their maximum between August 12 and 13. Unfortunately, the Full Moon will make observing meteors quite difficult. We might see around 10 or 20 meteors per hour during the peak, right GODMOTHERdown from 50 or 60 per hour in a year without a Full Moon.
However, we might notice a few “shooting stars”.
The Perseids are some of the most famous meteor showers of the year. The meteors make their appearance every summer when our planet passes through the “tail” of comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed us in 1992.
How can you see the Perseid meteor shower?
As Earth passes through the icy and rocky remains of the comet, small pieces of space debris pass through our atmosphere, reaching a temperature of 1,650 degrees Celsius and plowing through the sky at speeds of more than 100,000 miles per hour. Science Alert.
Most of these small meteors burn up in the atmosphere, although rarely some fall to the surface of our planet, so they are called “meteorites”.
Although the Perseids last for several weeks, the most beautiful spectacle begins when Earth passes through the densest part of Comet Swift-Tuttle’s cloud.
In any given year, astronomy enthusiasts can expect about 60 meteors per hour. This year, the number will be considerably lower, because the Full Moon will shine very brightly.
It would be best to find a very dark place where we can observe the sky in the hours before sunrise. Our eyes need up to 30 minutes to get used to the dark. Then, we should turn our gaze to the north, in the direction of the constellation Perseus.
People have been watching the Perseids for thousands of years
People have been watching the Perseids for thousands of years. In 1862, two astronomers, Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, independently discovered a massive comet, now known as Swift-Tuttle.
A few years later, another astronomer realized that this comet was producing the Perseid meteor shower. Comet Swift-Tuttle is huge. Scientists say it is the largest known object that has repeatedly flown close to Earth. The comet’s nucleus (the central, solid part of the comet) measures 26 kilometers across.
By comparison, the Chicxulub asteroid that hit Earth 65 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs was only 12 kilometers across.