Thursday, August 9, 2012

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks on Weekend

This NASA sky map shows the location in the northern sky where the Perseid meteor shower will appear to radiate from in 2012. The Perseid meteor shower peaks every August and appears to fly out of the constellation Perseus.
By Starry Night Education writer
updated 8/8/2012 12:47:15 PM ET
One of the most pleasant treats on a warm summer night is to lie out under a starry sky and try to see a few shooting stars, or meteors. Luckily, right now is a great time to try to see meteors in the night sky.
Any night this week you will have a good chance of seeing the annual Perseid meteor shower. These objects are tiny bits of rock and debris from an old comet, which is named Swift-Tuttle after the astronomers who discovered it in 1862.
Every year in early August, Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. As the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth, the air is heated to incandescence and we see a rapid streak of light.


Sources: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,, NBC News


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