A beautiful exhibition of “shooting stars” is set to grace the night sky this month.
Get ready for the Perseids.
The Earth witnesses the meteor shower, dubbed as the best shower of the year, every August when our planet moves through the trails of debris left behind by a comet. However, this year, Earth may be closer to the debris trails than usual, thereby producing a spectacular celestial show for astronomers, stargazers and space enthusiasts alike.
“Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12,” Bill Cooke, with NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office in Huntsville, Alabama, said. “Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour.”
Also read: Meteor Showers Of 2016: Perseid, Eta Aquarid & Orionid To Offer Stargazers Breathtaking Views Of Skies
The Perseids have already begun, but they peak between August 11 and 13. By that time, owing to the gravitational alignment, astronomers expect at least 200 meteors per hour will be visible.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Perseids come from Comet Swift-Tuttle, a six-mile wide celestial chunk comprising mostly of ice and dust. While the orbit of the comet brings it in close proximity to our planet, the possibility of impact is negligible.
“Here’s something to think about. The meteors you’ll see this year are from comet flybys that occurred hundreds if not thousands of years ago,” Cooke said. “And they’ve traveled billions of miles before their kamikaze run into Earth’s atmosphere.”
When the Earth passes through the trail each year, the debris comes into contact with the upper atmosphere and causes friction. The heat produced as a result is seen as mesmerizing trails of light called meteors.
As reported by NASA, the Perseids travel at a mind blowing speed of 132,000 miles per hour. The temperatures recorded during the peak of the meteor showers range from 3,000 to 10,000 degrees.
The most ideal time to view the breathtaking event is between midnight and early hours of August 12. However, those who cannot due to cloudy or polluted skies can view a live broadcast through Ustream.
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