Astronomers are expecting up to 100 meteors an hour to streak the night sky on August 12th and 13th, the peak dates for the Perseid Meteor Shower. This spectacular display started back on July 17th, and is expected to end on August 24th. No matter where you are in the world, you should be able to view this light show at your respective time; although the northern hemisphere is said to be able to see it better. The prime viewing time is in the wee hours of the morning, typically between 3-5AM CST. The British Broadcasting Company has also stated that astronomers are expecting the sky to be especially dark, due to a crescent moon, so viewing these great balls of fire hurling through the sky should be easy.
The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower is also going on this month, with Astronomers expecting it to end around August 23rd. This does make for a confusing glimpse at the sky while you’re waiting for Perseid. However, it’s more likely that the small meteors you’re seeing around this time are from Perseid, as it tends to be more active than Delta Aquarid.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between the Delta Shower and the Perseid Shower?
This is where your knowledge of the constellations will come in handy. The Delta Aquarid’s meteors will appear to come from the area where you will find the Aquarius constellation, which can be found in the southern sky (if you are in the northern hemisphere.) However, the Perseid’s meteors appear as though they are coming from Perseus, in the northern sky.
What Causes the Perseid Meteor Shower?
Radmila Topalovic, Astronomer from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, explains to
The Telegraph that the reason this is an annual event is because the Comet Swift-Tuttle is orbiting the Sun along with our beautiful planet. Every year, Earth makes its way through the debris of the comet (it’s tail) and that is what we end up experiencing in the Perseid Meteor Shower. We see so many vivid streaks at once because we are going through a very high-density region of the tail, which is what makes the Perseid Meteor Shower so famous. The comet orbits around the Sun at a much slower rate than Earth, taking 133 years to do so once.
You won’t want to miss out on this beautiful Perseid Meteor Shower. The best way to view this amazing display in the sky is away from any artificial light, and we suggest taking some coffee and blanket with you so you can relax and enjoy the show!