Alert! Perseids Meteor Shower Peaking
The Perseids meteor shower is an annual shower that runs from late July to mid August.
The Perseids meteor shower peaks in early August. The dates for maximum activity falls on the 12 August. A maximum hourly rate of the Perseids should be about 80-100 meteors when viewed in dark skies.
The Perseids acquire their name from the point in the sky they seem to originate. Tracking back meteors seen in this storm give an origin point in the constellation of Perseus. While the meteors originate from this point they can often been seen stretching across large sections of the sky, so be sure to keep careful watch. The meteors are caused by tiny pieces of dust burning up as they collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. This takes place around 80 kilometres off the ground.
The best time to view the Perseids will be in the early hours of the morning. This year the peak of the Perseids will be accompanied by an almost new Moon. With only around 9% of the Moon being illuminated by the Sun we should have very dark conditions for viewing the shower over the next few days. To make the most of this we recommend waiting until the hours between midnight and dawn. Viewing during the approach to sunrise means our side of the planet is moving into the meteor producing dust trails.
The Perseids are one of the best known meteor showers and has a reliable performance making it a show to look out for.
The Perseids meteor shower is formed by the dust trails left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. This comet has an orbital path that brings it close to the Earth enabling it to leave behind this trail for us to move through. Repeated passes through the Earth’s orbit have left a dense cloud, responsible for this high activity shower. Comet Swift-Tuttle will be back in just over 100 years to top up the dust trails, however despite crossing out path won’t come close to the Earth during that orbit. The Perseids are one of the best known meteor showers and has a reliable performance making it a show to look out for.
Make sure to download the National Space Centre Meteor Shower Guide to make sure you are fully prepared to witness the Perseids this August!