Once a year Earth citizens can witness one of the “greatest shows on Earth” during the Perseids Meteor Shower in August. 50 to 100 meteors can be seen per hour giving sky watchers an amazing view of this sky show. The most fascinating experience is witnessing their fireballs. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak because they originate from larger particles of comet material. Think of this event as the heavens gifting us with a fireworks show.
The Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 by Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle. Swift-Tuttle is a large comet with a nucleus spanning 16 miles (26 kilometers) across. The pieces of space debris that interact with our atmosphere to create the Perseids Meteor Shower originate from this comet. The point in the sky from which the meteor shower appears to come from is the constellation Perseus. It takes our Earth weeks to cross it and provides us with a wonderful view of our place in the cosmos.
Consider packing up the family and gathering with friends to take in the glory of this event. Seek out a nice cozy place with minimal to no light pollution for your maximum viewing enjoyment. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets so you can picnic under the stars and enjoy this amazing galactic treat!
The 2021 Perseids meteor shower is said to be most intense on Wednesday night AUGUST 11 through Thursday morning AUGUST 12 when our planet is close to the comet stream’s “dusty core“. However a few nights before and after could be equally good for viewing. Keep in mind optimal viewing time is after 10 pm and if you have to nap to be up ALL night DO IT.
Comet rates increase greatly after midnight your local time when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky (sky map). Expect to count dozens of meteors during the moonless hours before sunrise.
Although Perseids peaks around the 11th of August, this sky show has started. To date NASA cameras have detected more than a dozen Perseid fireballs over the USA.
Here is the Perseids burning up over the Czech Republic by Petr Horálek to get you inspired:
Look up. Give thanks. Enjoy the sky show. Visit here for a photo gallery of past Perseids Meteor Showers.