Skywatchers around the world are waiting to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower which will peak on Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Since 2007, the dazzling display will coincide with a new moon, making the view much more spectacular.
The Perseids meteor shower usually occur every year from July 17 and August 24. The best time to view this show is when the night sky is in its darkest. This shower is special among others because at its peak, watchers can see from 60 to 100 meteors in an hour.
It is called Perseids because the point from which it appears to come, called the radiant, is located in the constellation of Perseus. Perseids derive from a term of Greek mythology that refers to the sons of Perseus.
The Perseids are actually tiny debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Each year, around July and August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet’s remains. The Swift-Tuttle shed this material a long time ago and it is now distributed as a “river of rubble” through the comet’s orbit around the Sun.
The particles made of ice and dust, hit Earth’s atmosphere at about 37 miles/s. When they do, the dust disintegrates and creates the characteristic display of light in the night sky.
Finally, the recommended to view the spectacle is at 23:00 on August 12 until the morning of August 13.
Source: ABC News