1.Perseids Meteor Shower Live
The Perseids meteor shower, one of the most prolific meteor showers of the year, peaks on the night of August 12, 2019. The Perseids is a favorite for many stargazers because it has more bright meteors than most showers, usually about 50-60 per hour.
Like most meteor showers, the Perseids are sand grain-sized debris shed from a comet, in this case, Comet Swift-Tuttle. As the Earth passes through the comet’s debris trail every year, some particles enter our atmosphere and vaporize, generating the bright streaks we call meteors.
The Perseid Meteor Shower builds slowly, starting in late July when you might see 3 to 4 an hour. They peak when Earth passes through the densest part of the cometary debris stream on August 12-13. At the peak of the show, in clear, dark sky, you might see as many as 60 meteors an hour.
For the best view of the Perseids, look for meteors late on August 12 and the early morning of August 13. After midnight is best… that’s when the Earth turns into the stream of particles from Swift-Tuttle. Avoid ambient light if you can. Lie on a reclining chair or a blanket on the ground, and simply look up. You don’t need binoculars or a telescope. Nor do you need to look right at the constellation of Perseus: the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. Those with long streaks come into the atmosphere at an oblique angle; those with shorter streaks enter the atmosphere at a steep angle and come more directly towards us… and no, they will not hit you! Because the radiant lies in Perseus, northern-hemisphere observers get the best view, although southerners will see some too.
In medieval Europe, the Perseids were called the “Tears of St. Lawrence” because they occur near the anniversary of the death of Laurentius, a Christian deacon who was martyred by the Roman Emperor Valerian in the year 258 CE. The first recorded observation of the Perseids was by Chinese astronomers in 36 CE
Join us throughout the night of August 12th as we look to the sky with Slooh Astrophysicist, Dr. Paige Godfrey.