Who doesn’t love spotting shooting stars? Lying on your back on a patch of grass or maybe your rooftop allows you to view the stars in a spectacular way. The Perseid meteor shower gives you the perfect opportunity to witness this beautiful natural phenomenon. This specific Comet was last seen in 1992 and will only return in 2026.
The meteor shower officially started on the 17th of July and will have its peak between the 11th and the 13th of August. This year is expected to be even more spectacular than yet seen before. The meteor shower will continue until the 24th of August.
These meteor showers are witnessed for over 2000 year already but in the year 1862 the comet which causes this Perseid shower has been discovered. The comet was named 109P/Swift-Tuttle.
What makes us see the shooting stars? The small particles, consisting out of rocks and dust, ranging in size from grains to marbles, which the comet sheds come into our atmosphere. These particles enter with such speed (up to 100,000 miles per hour) that they heat up and turn into small bursts of light before they vaporize. It is very rare a particle actually reaches the surface of the Earth. Only when it manages to hit the ground it is called a meteorite. It will then amaze you what kind of damage such a small particle can actually do.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory predicts to see up to 100 meteors per hour during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower.
How can we witness this phenomenon the best way possible? Go to a place with the least amount of light pollution as possible. In other words, the darker the better. If you live in the city you will have to travel outside until the artificial light does not interfere anymore with the star gazing. The moment you see the stars, you will see meteor shower as well. There is no need for a telescope since the shower is visible with the naked eye. The best time to view the meteors is just after midnight. This is when you get the clearest sight.
Some facts to know about this particular meteor shower:
– What we see as beautiful natural phenomena is actually the comet’s trash
– The comet Swift-Tuttle has a diameter of about 16 miles
– It is the largest object known to pass the Earth repeatedly
– In the 1990’s people were afraid the comet would collide with Earth, meaning the end of our world. This theory was relatively quick debunked.