NASA Catches Early Perseid Meteors On Film [Video]

The Inquisitr reported earlier today on the Perseid meteor shower on its way and how to get the most out of your viewing experience. But NASA is a few steps ahead of the rest of us and already has some early footage of the meteor shower taking place. In the above video, you can see the tiny meteors soaring across the night sky, highlighted with tracking cross-hairs for your viewing convenience.

Space.com reported on NASA’s footage of the meteor shower, claiming that the space organization planted several cameras on the ground somewhere in the United States to capture some straggler meteors as they streak along the summer nightscape. There are 12 cameras in all, using NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network to record the showers. So far more than 110 meteors have been filmed.

This brilliant stellar display is part of an annual meteor shower that we have come to expect every August, according to Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) in Huntsville, Alabama. The Perseid meteor shower is a result of the Earth passing through chunks of ice and dust left behind from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteor shower has been speckling Earth’s skies for the past 2,000 years.

To see what parts of the Perseid meteor shower will be visible in your area of the world, check out the visibility map below:

The cameras used to record the meteor shower have a magnitude of about -2.5, which allows them to detect light from celestial bodies as bright as Mars or brighter. Since some of the meteors in the Perseid meteor shower are quite dim, many of them have gone unnoticed by NASA’s cameras. And those that the space agency have recorded are only the meteors that appear over the Northern Hemisphere.

The Perseid meteor shower hasn’t quite peaked yet, though. When it does, many of the meteors will be visible from night sky watchers with the naked eye. According to the LA Times, the peak of the showers should occur sometime tonight (Tuesday) and continue through Wednesday morning.

“What the moon is doing is lighting up the whole sky, it’s like nature’s own light pollution,” said Alan MacRobert from Sky and Telescope magazine. “It will reduce the number of faint meteors you can see, but you can still see the bright ones.”

You should be able to see an average of one meteor every five minutes. So get out those telescopes and see how many meteors you can count!

[Image courtesy of Idea Stream]