Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks After Midnight. NASA Says It's 'One Of The Best'

If you're tired of binge-watching TV during the pandemic, Mother Nature has an alternative. All you have to do is go outside between about 2 a.m. Wednesday and dawn local time, lie on your back and look up at the sky. The meteors and fireballs of the Perseid meteor shower should be streaking.

NASA says it's "one of the best" meteor shows of the year. That's because of the sheer number of meteors 50 to 100 meteors to catch per hour as well as their fireballs — larger, brighter explosions of light and color that last longer than an average meteor streak.

The popularity of the Perseids also has to do with the season. Summer temperatures make for pleasant viewing conditions: The American  says there are meteor Society meteor showers, but those appear in the Northern Hemisphere during the colder parts of the year.)

The brightness of the moon, which rises around midnight, will reduce the number of visible meteors to 15 to 20 an hour, although that's still a meteor every 3 minutes or so.

The Perseids are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere. You don't need a telescope and you don't need to pick a corner of the sky — they're everywhere.
But you do need the weather to cooperate. A cloudy night sky means you won't see much of anything.

Perseid meteors are the result of space debris left behind by the Comet swift Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years. Earth passes through these trails of comet dust every July and August, causing debris to collide with the atmosphere and disintegrate into fiery streaks.

This particular shower gets its name because the meteors appear to be coming from a point in the sky right by the constellation Perseus.

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