Some people will be in for a free show in August as the Earth is currently in a location in space that has meteor activity. These meteors have been named Perseid meteor shower, and their activity occurs every year. This popular meteor shower will not come in full force in 2019 as the Moon will be in a position to block the view.
Only 10-15 meteors per hour will be seen by spectators this year, but perhaps the peak of the shower will offer a little more. The peak date for meteor activity will be August 12-13. Other years have resulted in much higher numbers of meteors due to the absence of moonlight. With 2016 having hosted a spectacular show that consisted of 150-200 meteors per hour.
What causes the Perseid Meteor shower?
Strangely enough, a comet is to blame for the annual meteor shower spectacle. The comet, known as Swift-Tuttle, routinely passes by Earth pretty often, with the last flyby in 1992 and the next one expected in 2126.
The comet’s nucleus is around 16 miles wide, and it leaves behind debris in the form of the Perseid Meteors. The reason why the meteor shower happens once per year is that our planet passes the debris during its yearly orbit around the Sun.
The very small objects that form the debris are classified as meteors once they reach the Earth’s atmosphere. Here, they travel at around 37 miles per hour and heat up to create the famous light show. A meteorite would be classified as an object that pierces the atmosphere and lands on the planet surface. But the Perseids are too small for that.
How to watch the Perseid meteor shower?
As what you’re doing is watching some lights in the sky, dark space is needed to optimize the experience. The darker, the better. So escape from the busy city lights and find a nice spot in the countryside.
Your eyes are a more significant component than you realize. Spending at least 30 minutes in low light conditions will force your eyes to pick up light more efficiently. The more hours you spend in low light conditions, the better you will enjoy the show. Leaning back is preferred, so get comfortable. Get a chair, some mosquito repellant and maybe pitch a tent for the night.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.