Each year, the sky breaks out in beautiful sparks made by thousands of shooting stars passing through the atmosphere! This is the famous Perseid meteor shower and this year, according to meteorologists, is said to be particularly spectacular because of expected outbursts.
Outbursts means that the number of meteors in the sky visible to the naked eye will double. According to Peter Brown, a professor with the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, this years outburst is caused by Jupiter’s and Saturn’s orbits on the Swift-Tuttle debris. The last known outburst was in 2009.
The Perseids occur annually every August when the Earth traverses the debris trail left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. These debris crosses the Earth’s atmosphere at 133,200 mph or 60 km per second eventually producing beautiful streaks of light across our skies.
Dario Dela Cruz who is PAGASA’s chief of the Space Sciences and Astronomy Section said that the peak dates to observe the phenomena is from August 12th midnight to 4:30 am on August 13. The outbursts are expected to peak at 1 a.m to 2 a.m.
This year, over 150 meteors per hour will be crossing the sky but only about 30 shooting stars will be visible due to the full moons glare. Those that survive the travel into the earths atmosphere are called meteorites.
The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus in the eastern horizon where they originate during the month of August. Perseus is the Greek hero that killed the snake haired Gorgon Medusa whose single stare can petrify objects.
To best view this natural event, camp out in a secluded place away from artificial city lights. Dark skies are best for viewing this wonder. Be patient as it takes almost 30 minutes for your eyes to adapt to the darkness and appreciate the shooting stars.
Let us all pray for clear, cloudless skies on the night of the Perseid meteor shower.