Perseids Peak August 12 & 13


  • When are the Perseids? Stargazers, every August the Perseids peak, so find a dark sky to watch out for meteors and fireballs. The nights of August 12 and 13, 2018 are expected to be even better this year because the thin crescent moon sets early, which means an even darker sky that's perfect for stargazing.
  • 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 Sky to learn more.

RESOURCES

Information from Space.com and earthsky.org.

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