Perseid Meteor Shower, August’s celestial show!

Best viewing nights: August 11-12, 2018

Photo: A Perseid Meteor and the Milky Way

The Perseid meteor shower is the best shower of the year! 60-70 meteors per hour are possible, and the moon will be a thin crescent which will make for great viewing conditions!

Earth will pass through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 to Aug. 24, with the shower’s peak — when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area — occurring on Aug. 12. That means you’ll see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time near that peak, but you can still catch some action from the famed meteor shower before or after that point.

You can see the Perseid meteor shower best in the Northern Hemisphere and down to the mid-southern latitudes, and all you need to catch the show is darkness, somewhere comfortable to sit and a bit of patience.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth; its nucleus is about 16 miles (26 kilometers) wide. It last passed nearby Earth during its orbit around the sun in 1992, and the next time will be in 2126. But it won’t be forgotten in the meantime, because Earth passes through the dust and debris it leaves behind every year, creating the annual Perseid meteor shower.

When you sit back to watch a meteor shower, you’re actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky as they travel at 37 miles (59 km) per second. When they’re in space, the pieces of debris are called “meteoroids,” but when they reach Earth’s atmosphere, they’re designated as “meteors.” If a piece makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up, it graduates to “meteorite.” Most of the meteors in the Perseids are much too small for that; they’re about the size of a grain of sand.

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7 Responses to Perseid Meteor Shower, August’s celestial show!

  1. I can remember my Mom waking us up in the middle of the night when I was a kid. We’d all go outside and lay on the grass or lawn chairs and watch for hours! I did it with my Daughter, and this weekend I’ll do it with her and my Grand Girl in Florida. Hope it’s clear!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. hocuspocus13 says:

    Plus as an added feature…

    The Planet Venus just traveled into Her own Astrological sign of Libra

    Making Passion more aggressive! ❤ have fun

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ❌ ZurichMike ❌ says:

    We had friends over for dinner last weekend and we went to the terrace around 10 pm and within 5 minutes saw 3 shooting stars! Looking forward to Saturday night — it’s supposed to be very clear here.

    Saw the “blood moon” a couple of weeks ago — it was more “light apricot” in color — and then strung across the southern sky were Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus — simply spectacular!

    Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      When I was about 16, I went on a camping trip with my church youth group during the time of the Perseid. It was wonderful to just lie on the ground and watch the stars. I’ll never forget it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ❌ ZurichMike ❌ says:

        That happened once back in 1989 in August for me. I was visiting a friend in Kansas and after we closed the bar (back in the day when I did such things), we drove back to his parents’ house but stopped along a road with an embankment of grass at just the right angle to lie down and watch the meteor shower — we saw 30-40 shooting stars in a short time!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Menagerie says:

        When I was about 12 I went with a friend to a summer camp her church hosted down at Allatoona Lake. Back then it was far from Atlanta, or any other urban area. We lay on our backs on the summer grass still warm from the day and watched the stars come out.

        It was the first time this city girl glimpsed the vastness of the sky and stars. It was breathtaking and I have never forgotten it.

        Liked by 1 person

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