One of The Brightest Meteor Showers of the Year to Happen This Week

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Perseid-Meteor-Showers-2015

Every year between mid-July and late August, the Perseid meteor shower – one of the brightest meteor showers of the year – transforms the sky into a cosmic light spectacle. This year it will be active between July 13 and August 26 while its peak is expected to occur during August 12-13.

What makes this year’s peak special is the fact that it will happen one day before a new moon. In other words, barely any moon light will be “light-polluting” the sky, so the conditions are perfect to see as many meteors as possible, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

Says NASA, ”If you see one meteor shower this year, make it August’s Perseids or December’s Geminids. The Perseids feature fast and bright meteors that frequently leave trains, and in 2015 there will be no moonlight to upstage the shower.”

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Details About the Meteor Shower
“Those streaks of light are really caused by tiny specks of comet-stuff hitting Earth’s atmosphere at very high speed and disintegrating in flashes of light,” says NASA.

The Perseid meteor shower’s comet of origin is “109P/Swift-Tuttle” and it was named after the constellation Perseus. “The meteors will always travel in a path away from the constellation for which the shower is named. This apparent point of origin is called the ‘radiant,’” NASA explained adding that, “the constellation only serves as a helpful guide in the night’s sky. The constellation is not the actual source of the meteors.”

During its peak, stargazers might be able to see up to 100 meteors per hour at meteor velocity of 37 miles (59 kilometers) per second.

 Perseid-Meteor-From-Space

What Exactly are Meteor Showers?
Meteor showers usually appear when earth passes through a stream of debris left by a comet – a small, icy body formed in the outer Solar System – and small particles of dust enter Earth’s atmosphere at up to 90,000 mph causing little “collisions” that vaporize the dust and leave bright, ionized trails of light.

Comet-Parts-Meteor-Shower

Tips to See Perseid Meteor Showers
As mentioned above, favorable viewing conditions will occur in the Northern Hemisphere.

It looks like you will also get a better view during predawn hours.

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NASA suggests to forget about telescopes and binoculars saying that, “Using either reduces the amount of sky you can see at one time, lowering the odds that you’ll see anything but darkness. Instead, let your eyes hang loose and don’t look in any one specific spot. Relaxed eyes will quickly zone in on any movement up above, and you’ll be able to spot more meteors.”

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Image Credit: “Perseid Meteor” by Mike Lewinski / CC License 2.0 via Flickr  / All Other Images Courtesy of and Copyright by NASA

 

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