Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

Perseid meteor shower to peak on August 12

Perseid meteor shower to peak on August 12

The meteor shower's actual peak is around 1 p.m. on August 12, which means that the night before and the night after will both have good rates. The meteors are the debris from the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle which made its last pass near the earth in 1992 and will not make its next perihelion until July of 2126. While the largest meteors of Perseid - fireballs - entered the Earth's atmosphere, can be seen not only at night but during the day.

Even though pieces of the comet are actually that tiny, "they're moving so fast that they heat up and they illuminate the air around them, so that's what we see - a streak of light", Gallagher said.

Meteors will fall at a rate of 150 an hour, according to NASA scientist Bill Cooke, but the light from a three-quarters moon will block many of them from sight. Relax outside for a few hours and after 30 minutes of adjusting your eyes to the dark environment, you'll see hundreds of meteors.

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Alternatively, a live broadcast of the shower will be shown via the Slooh website on August 12 from 8 p.m. Records of the meteor shower date back nearly 2,000 years.

"Tonight thousands of meteors will dance like champagne bubbles in the summer sky, pale sparks timid as snowflakes will shower the earth, and a heavenly fireworks display as wondrously holy as a human heartbeat will bloom in the hush of the vast cosmos".

All year long as Earth revolves around the sun, it passes through streams of cosmic debris.

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Ali Amur al Shaibani, an Omani astronomer and member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, said enthusiasts must go at a spot with clear sky view without any urban light pollution, and look towards the northeast.

You can tell if a meteor belongs to a particular shower by tracing back its path to see if it originates near a specific point in the sky, called the radiant. "The darker location you can get to, the better, but regardless, the moon is going to block out some of the fainter ones".

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