Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Perseid Meteor Shower In August 2017



The 2017 Perseid Meteor Shower is visible for about two weeks before and after its peak which occurs during the early morning hours of August 12.

“This year, we are expecting enhanced rates of about 150 per hour or so, but the increased number will be canceled out by the bright Moon, the light of which will wash out the fainter Perseids,” said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.



The Perseid Meteor Shower produces more fireballs than any other meteor shower.  

A fireball is a very bright meteor, at least as bright as the planets Jupiter or Venus.

Every Perseid meteor is a tiny piece of a comet that orbits the sun every 133 years. Each swing through the inner solar system can leave trillions of small particles in its wake. 

Cooke thinks the Perseids are rich in fireballs because of the size of the parent comet. Comet Swift-Tuttle has a huge nucleus - about 26 km in diameter," said Cooke. "Most other comets are much smaller, with nuclei only a few kilometers across. As a result, Comet Swift-Tuttle produces a large number of meteoroids, many of which are large enough to produce fireballs."

2017 Perseid Meteor Shower: Where To Watch

The Perseids meteor shower will be visible almost all over the world - but will be best seen in the northern hemisphere.   A major determining factor on where a good place is to watch the Perseids meteor shower is local cloud cover and artificial light pollution. Lie on your back and look straight up. Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

2017 Perseid Meteor Shower: Where To Look



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 constellation in which the radiant is located gives the shower its name, and in this case, Perseids appear to come from a point in the constellation Perseus. Photo credit: NASA/JPL

2017 Perseid Meteor Shower: When To Watch

The best way to see the Perseids is to go outside between midnight and dawn on the morning of Aug. 12th.  


TOP PHOTO: An outburst of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in August 2009 in this time-lapse image. Stargazers expect a similar outburst during the 2017 Perseid meteor shower, which will be visible overnight on Aug. 11 and 12. Photo Credits: NASA/JPL