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Perseid Meteor Show Peaks Before Dawn on August 11 & 12

Aug 09, 2016 02:53 AM EDT
The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower
Stargazers are preparing to capture the biggest meteor shower this year, the Perseid meteor shower that will peak on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.
(Photo : Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Astronomers and stargazers are currently enjoying the meteor showers that started early this July. But the anticipation is heightened because the annual Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak on Aug. 11 to Aug. 12.

The Perseid meteor shower is an annual feast for the eye, as hundreds of meteors shoot up lighting the skies. It usually occurs from July until mid-August. But this year, the shower is reportedly more fascinating as the number of meteors is expected to double from 50 to 70 per hour, stargazers can expect to see 150 to 200 shooting stars.

Experts say that stargazers can expect to witness double the usual number of meteors starting on August 11 and August 12. "Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office said in a press release. "Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour," Cooke added.

But to put things in perspective, the meteors aren't the ones visiting the Earth, it is the Earth that passes through the comet debris that is causing the rocks to interact with the Earth's atmosphere. And when debris hit the atmosphere, they burst into flames creating the meteor shower or shooting stars that can be seen by the naked eye.

When the Earth crossed the path of the debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle the meteor shower occurs, according to Science Alert. Experts say that the Earth only makes it to edges of the debris, but debris is enough to put on a celestial extravaganza made up of shooting stars on a yearly basis.

But this year, the Earth is crossing the path a little closer to the debris that is why there are more meteors to see. But despite the higher number of meteors, experts say the shower will also last shorter due to the speed of the meteors, so stargazers should be more observant in watching the Perseid meteor shower this year.


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