The Perseid meteor shower may not have even peaked yet, at least that’s what the astronomers tell us. Space.com indicates that peak activity will take place late on Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, and the supermoon could play a factor in viewing the celestial fireworks this week. At this time, 30 to 40 events per hour are anticipated to occur for a few hours before the sun begins to rise. People in the Northern Hemisphere will get the best show.
NASA is especially excited about this year’s shower. International Business Times caught up with Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, and he offered the following insight into why NASA is so fascinated with this year’s Perseid meteor shower:
“We have found that one meteor shower produces more fireballs than any other. It’s the Perseid meteor shower.”
Some factors that could adversely affect the visibility of this year’s shower could be air pollution and excessive light. Of course, this means that the supermoon may ironically take some of the spotlight away from the Perseids, but it should still be possible to get a good view.
Here are some tips straight from NASA for getting the best out of this year’s Perseid shower:
Get as far away from urban environments as possible. Typically, these metropolitan areas are very well lit and are subject to air pollution that can make viewing the natural light show a challenge. Weather can also play a factor, so try to scout out a location that offers a cloud-free view. Look for the darkest patch of sky you can find and spread out a blanket to get comfortable. It is highly recommended to lie down, when possible, to get a full view of the night sky.
This astral phenomenon is the result of a comet known as Swift-Tuttle that makes a trip toward the sun at the same time every year. The Earth passes through the cloud of dust particles that the comet leaves behind, and this becomes the Perseid meteor shower.
Will you be viewing the Perseid shower this week? Have you already seen some of it? Share your experiences in the comment section below.
[Photo credits: grindtv.com – Travis Burke and RT.com]