perseids-226On the night of Aug. 12-13, the annual Perseid meteor shower will peak in the skies over Earth. Although the almost-full moon will wash out fainter meteors, there should still be a good show of brighter meteors in this prolific shower. Projected peak rates are 30-40 meteors/hour. Most of the world can see the Perseids any time after full dark, with peak viewing in the two hours before dawn (your local time).

Dr. Bill Cooke and his team of meteor scientists will take your questions via live web chat on the night of Aug. 12-13. A live Ustream view of the skies over Marshall Space Flight Center will also be offered, weather permitting. The Ustream view will appear on this page on Aug. 12 at:9:30 p.m. EDT (Aug. 13 at 1:30 GMT). The live web chat will begin on this page on Aug. 12 at 11 p.m. EDT (Aug. 13 at 3:00 GMT).

Meteors and Fireballs Light Up the Skies


More About the Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet’s debris. These bits of ice and dust — most over 1,000 years old — burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere to create one of the best meteor showers of the year. The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

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