The Perseid meteor The shower is one of the highlights for most meteor hunters and sky watchers each year, as it features an increasing number of visible, shooting rocks for several weeks during the summer. The annual shower begins tonight – read on to find out the best way to see it place Phenomenon.
With a small, rocky or metallic body, meteoroids are significantly smaller than asteroids, ranging in size from small grains to objects a meter wide.
However, the Perseid meteor shower, known for being both colorful and showing bright trails of light, is considered particularly special, counting up to 100 rocks per hour, although you can usually see around 50.
What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
Observed for more than 2,000 years, the Perseid meteor shower occurs when Earth passes the orbit of comet Swift-Tuttle.
CONTINUE READING: Apollo 11: Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong’s defiant message to NASA
As comets orbit closer to the sun, they heat up, causing parts to break off.
As the debris (meteors) fall into Earth’s orbit around the Sun, they can infiltrate our atmosphere at speeds of about seven to 45 miles per second, Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) said.
However, the exact speed at which the meteor enters the atmosphere depends on the combined speed of the Earth and the debris itself.
RMG said: “The average speed of a Perseid meteor is 36 miles per second, and the air in front of the meteor is crushed and heated to thousands of degrees Celsius.
It goes on to say, “The smaller meteors vaporize and leave a bright trail of light,” while “the larger meteors may explode as fireballs.”
If cloudy and rainy conditions are expected where you are, perhaps travel somewhere else where you want the weather to be clearer, or set out on a different day. The shower is supposed to last for the next few weeks.
Another tip is to try to reduce light pollution in your field of view.
Go to the countryside, a park, or some other spacious place to observe with a better view. Royal Museums Greenwich even suggests doing something as simple as turning your back on streetlights to watch when you can’t travel.
RMG said: “Give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the dark so you can catch more of the fainter meteors – that means not looking at your phone!
“Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, so the more sky you can see the better.”
Try to find an area away from trees and buildings with a much clearer view of the horizon — but don’t worry about bringing binoculars and telescopes. These limit the amount of sky you can see.
Head out when the sky is darkest, and especially for meteor showers, the best time to do it is between midnight and the early hours of the morning.
In the case of Perseids, however, these can also be visible in the early evening, especially when the sun sets over the horizon due to its radiance.