The Perseid meteor shower has begun! Earth passes through Comet Swift-“dusty Tuttle’s tail.”
THOUSANDS of shooting stars will light up the night skies this week as the Earth passes through Comet Swift-“dusty Tuttle’s tail.” This website has been informed all you need to know about the yearly Perseid meteor shower by an astronomer.
Although the Perseids first appeared in mid-July, the meteor shower will begin in earnest this week. The Perseids are famed for their abundant peak and magnificent shooting stars, which are caused by the Earth crossing the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. And, according to astronomer Edward Bloomer of the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London, the United Kingdom is in the ideal position to witness this natural fireworks display.
Every year in mid-July, the Perseid shower appears, scattering individual shooting stars here and there until the last week or so of August.
However, the shower is at its most violent on the night of its alleged peak, when the hourly rate of shooting stars skyrockets.
This year’s shower peaks on the night of Thursday, August 12th, but Dr. Bloomer says you should see plenty of meteors between August 10 and 16.
The meteors are small fragments of Comet Swift-Tuttle that have broken off and been left behind in its orbit during its voyage around the Sun.
Comet Swift-Tuttle is a 133-year-old periodic comet that orbits the sun once every 133 years.
“Essentially what happens is that the Earth moves into the tail of the comet,” Dr. Bloomer explained to this website.
“And because it intersects at a specific time of year, that means the particles appear to radiate from a specific location in the sky as they burn up in the atmosphere.”
Meteor showers are usually called for the constellation that is closest to them, which in the case of the Perseids is Perseus.
“Basically, it’s us colliding with this dusty tail, and those dust particles burn up in the atmosphere,” Dr. Bloomer explained.
The icy comet’s microscopic fragments fly through the sky at dizzying speeds, burning up before reaching the ground.
However, it’s not friction that causes them to glow as they descend, but rather a phenomenon known as ram pressure.
According to Dr. Bloomer, the effect heats up the air in front of and surrounding the meteors, which then heats up the atmosphere. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”