Every summer meteors light up the sky and this year Perseid meteor shower will “outburst” the night sky featuring around 200 shooting stars every hour, according to NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office. The Meteor shower will be happening on August 11 in the evening and August 12 in the early morning.
Perseid meteors got their name because they normally fly out of the constellation Perseus. But before talking about the shower, it is important to understand what is a meteor. Meteors are little pieces from a comet, and Perseid meteors are part of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years. Every time the Swift-Tuttle comet passes through the inner solar system, it leaves about trillions of small particles. And when the comet crosses with Earth, those small particles crashed into our atmosphere and gave us a shooting star show.
NASA explains why this year will be different. Usually, Earth grazes the edge of the Swift-Tuttle’s debris stream, where there is not much activity. But this year, Jupiter’s gravity pulled the tail of small pieces of the comet closer, and Earth got to plowed through closer to the middle, where there are more materials and more activity. Thus an “outburst” will light the night sky.
An outburst means that a meteor shower will have more meteors than usual, and this is the first Perseid outburst since 2009.
NASA recommends that to appreciate the Perseid meteor shower better; people need to go outside before midnight August 11.The shooting stars will pass between midnight and the morning dawn on August 12, but the human eye needs around 45 min to get used to the dark.
The good news is that the activity may also be seen on August 12 and 13. Meaning that more people will have the chance to see the ancient particles of the comet.
Those citizens that live outside the city will be the luckiest ones because to watch the meteor shower it is necessary a dark sky. The sad thing is that only 20 percent of North America can enjoy a genuinely dark sky because light pollution has taken over the other 80 percent. http://www.pulseheadlines.com/worlds-inhabitants-milky-home/34888/
— NASA (@NASA) August 11, 2016
Perseid meteors: they have made a long trip to come to Earth to entertained us
Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office explains that the meteors that are going to cross the night sky come from the comet’s flybys that happened hundreds or thousands of years ago. But that is not all. Those pieces have been traveling billions of miles before their big show that stars when they crashed into our atmosphere.
Perseid meteors travel at a 132 thousand miles per hour, which is 500 times faster than the fastest car in the world, NASA says. Meteors can reach temperatures higher than 3 thousand degrees and can reach to 10 thousand degrees.
And that is the origin of the tail we think are part of shooting stars. Actually, there are not such things as shooting stars. They are meteors that crash into our skies. And at that speed, the little pieces of rock collide with Earth’s atmosphere and then a bright light tail is formed. Then we ask for a wish.