Perseids Peak August 12 & 13


  • When are the Perseids? Stargazers, every August the Perseids peak, usually on the nights of August 12 and 13, so find a dark sky to watch out for meteors and fireballs.
  • What is a meteor shower? A meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through dust and debris left behind from a comet. Each August, the Earth passes through debris left from the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. You'll see a meteor when it burns up in the atmosphere, traveling at 37 miles per second, and those Perseid meteors are only the size of a grain of sand.
  • What time should I watch? The best time to watch is late evening until before dawn, but you can see the meteor shower all night long. Give your eyes 20-30 minutes to adjust to darkness. Leave your telescope and binoculars at home because you'll see much more of the night sky with naked eyes!
  • Why is it called the Perseids? The path of the meteors appear to originate from the constellation Perseus. Perseus was a Greek hero, slayer of monsters before Hercules (who just so happens to be his great grandson). Read Ancient Skies: Constellation Mythology of the Greeks or What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Skyopens a new window to learn more.

RESOURCES

Information from Space.com and earthsky.org.

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