The Perseids, considered by NASA to be the “best meteor shower of the year,” reaches its peak tonight, Saturday through Sunday.
According to the US space agency, unlike last year when the Perseids coincided with the full moon, this year the moon will be in the crescent phase, which will allow “even some of the weakest meteors to be observed.”
With “fast, bright” meteors also known as “fireballs,” the Perseids leave “trails of light and color” as they traverse the atmosphere. Because it is “one of the most abundant showers,” it is estimated that between 50 and 100 meteors can be seen per hour, according to NASA.
Dark skies, outside of major cities, is the best-case scenario for seeing this shower of stars. NASA adds that “you don’t have to look in any particular direction,” because the meteors will cross the entire sky.
According to NASA, “The Perseids appear to emanate from the constellation Perseus, and each meteor has a similar orbit.”
The meteors come from “the remains of comet particles and pieces of an asteroid”. “When comets orbit the sun, they leave behind a trail of dust. Each year, the Earth passes through this debris, allowing the fragments to collide with our atmosphere and break them apart to create colorful trails in the sky.” US Space Agency.
In the case of the Perseids, the interaction of space debris with the atmosphere originates from Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
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