Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Meteor shower of the year coming up

Meteor shower of the year coming up

Every year in August a summer display of meteors graces the night sky courtesy of the Swift Tuttle comet.

But the meteor shower does not fully awaken until around mid-August when the Perseids peak in intensity. Astronomy Magazine recommends getting up early to try viewing the shower in the last dark hour before dawn, but it's worth looking up at any hour after dusk.

"The meteor shower will be around 55-80 meteors per hour", said Avivah Yamani, a member of Bandung's astronomical group Langit Selatan in Bandung, on Thursday, August 9.

The photo comes courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Meteoroid Environment Office.

The meteor shower is made up of particles that crumbled away from the 26 kilometre (16 mile) wide comet as it zooms in and out of the inner Solar System. That's when the peak will start to build as Earth drifts through the most dense part of a cloud of cosmic debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes by our planet and the sun once every 133 years. This year, if conditions are favorable, the Perseid should be the best show of the year. Known as the best meteor shower of the year, The Perseid meteors tend to be brighter, lengthier, and more spectacular due to their origin from Comet Swift-Tuttle. A folding chair is useful to get off your feet if you are waiting around to the wee hours to catch the best sights of the night sky.

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Meteors visible in Spain at a rate of three a minute on Sunday and Monday night!

Just bear in mind you will not see as many shooting stars this early as you would during the peak.

Dr. Auld says you actually don't have to look a certain direction in the sky. This almost two-month spread suggests that comet debris has spread widely since Swift-Tuttle first passed though the inner solar system thousands of years ago.

In a similar way the Geminid meteor shower in December appears to originate from the constellation Gemini. So, the more in we go in the debris, the more that we see.

"Some are sporadic background meteors".

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In 2018, the peak night of this shower will be totally free of moonlight.

The Perseids meteor shower occurs around mid-August.

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Depending on when you decide to watch, you'll have a chance to see something different.

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