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by Gary Boyle
Persied Meteor Shower

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides, a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus.

One of the best meteor showers of the year will peak on the night of August 11/12. The Perseid meteor shower is the result of Earth ploughing through a cosmic cloud of debris from the passing of Comet Swift-Tuttle that last rounded the Sun in 1992. In past showers we have seen 60 to 100 meteors per hour vaporizing high above us at 58 km/sec. But this year has a twist.

Every 12 years the planet Jupiter in its 11.86 year orbit affects the cloud of debris making it a bit denser. This last occurred in 2004 and this shower is the 12th year. Observer might see higher numbers of 100 - 200 meteors per hour or more. Best time to set out a lawn chair in the countryside or campground with a good horizon is after midnight local time on Friday morning Aug 12 when the pesky moon sets. The entire shower lasts from July 23 to August 20 with the peak on Aug 11/12.

Clear skies,
Gary Boyle
The Backyard Astronomer
613-851-6566
Website: www.wondersofastronomy.com
Twitter: @astroeducator


Last Updated: Monday, 08 August 2016 15:00:19 PM EST

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