Saturday, August 11, 2012

Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

Cosmic Sights


The Perseid meteor shower happens every August
Perseid Meteor Shower: As The Guardian puts it: "Every Perseid meteor you see was once
in the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, a 27-kilometre-wide iceberg in space."
Photo Credit:  Ali Jarekji, Reuters, 2012
Source: The Guardian
Sky-watchers and stargazers in the northern hemisphere are in for a periodical cosmic event—the Perseid meteor shower. The National Post writes:
Every year in early August, Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle’s orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. As the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth, the air is heated to incandescence and we see a rapid streak of light.
This year, the Earth is expected to encounter the “core” of the Perseid swarm on Aug. 12, which will provide the best chance to view the meteors. But the shower can be seen between Aug. 10 and 16.
The meteor shower can only be viewed from the northern hemisphere, according to the International Meteor Organization, and can be viewed after 10 or 11 p.m. The best visibility comes, however, in the hours just before dawn.
The night-time event will begin between 11 p.m. and midnight on Saturday night and continue until dawn Sunday. Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope magazine added: "You might see as many one or two meteors a minute" at its peak."

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