A highlight of most meteorite hunters and skywatchers each year, the Perseid meteor shower displays an increasing number of visible and desirable rocks over a number of weeks during the summer. The annual shower will begin tonight – read on for the best way to see the space phenomenon.
Featuring a small, rocky or metallic body, meteorites are much smaller than asteroids and vary in size from tiny grains to meter wide bodies.
However, the Perseid meteor shower is known to be colorful and show equally bright light trails, although it is particularly special, reaching up to 100 boulders per hour, although about 50 boulders per hour can be seen.
What is a Perseid meteor shower?
The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for more than 2,000 years and occurs when Earth passes through the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
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When comets orbit near the sun, they heat up, causing parts of them to separate.
The Royal Museum of Greenwich (RMG) said that if debris (meteorites) fell in Earth’s path around the sun, it could infiltrate our atmosphere at speeds between 7 and 45 miles per second.
However, the exact speed at which a meteorite enters the atmosphere will depend on the combined speed of Earth and the debris itself.
RMG said: “The average velocity of the Perseid meteor is 36 miles per second and the air in front of the meteor is cleaving and heating up to thousands of degrees Celsius.
He continued, “Smaller meteorites evaporate and leave behind a shiny trail of light,” while “larger meteorites can explode in the form of fireballs.”
If cloudy and rainy conditions are expected where you are, you may want to move to a new location where the weather is set to be clearer or go out on a different day. After all, the rains will continue for the next few weeks.
Another tip is to try to reduce the amount of light pollution in your field of vision.
Head to the countryside, a park, or any other vast area for a better view. The Royal Museums Greenwich suggests doing something as simple as turning your back on street lamps to see if you are unable to travel.
RMG said, “Give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the darkness so you can catch the faint meteors, which means you don’t have to look at your phone!
“Meteorites can appear anywhere in the sky, so the more you see the sky, the better.”
Try to find an area away from trees and buildings and a clearer view of the horizon, but don’t worry about bringing binoculars and telescopes. This will limit the amount of sky you will be able to see.
Get out when the sky is darker and in the event of meteor strikes in particular, any time between midnight and early morning is the best time to do so.
However, with Perseid, it can be visible even in the early evening, just as the sun sets thanks to its splendor above the horizon.
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