Headlines > News > Peak of Perseid meteor shower to fall on August 12

Peak of Perseid meteor shower to fall on August 12

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:11 am via: source
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MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti) – A Russian astronomer said that over 100 meteor particles per hour are expected to light the night sky at the height of the annual Perseid meteor shower on August 12.

“The peak of this year’s shower will occur on August 12 between 21:30 and 24:00 Moscow time [17:30 and 21:00 GMT],” said Vladislav Leonov, a junior researcher at the Institute of Applied Astronomy under the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Meteor Shower

Meteor Shower

This year, the shower occurs during the moon’s waning gibbous phase, close to the last quarter; therefore, the view will be affected by the Moon’s illumination and it will be possible to see only the brightest meteors with the naked eye, the astronomer said.

Meteor showers in August occur every year when the Earth passes through the tail of Swift-Tuttle Comet.

Particles from the comet’s tail enter the atmosphere and burn up, creating a “shooting star” effect. To observers on Earth, these “stars” appear to be coming from the constellation Perseus, after which the shower is named.

Meteor showers can be observed twice a year – the Perseids shower in August and the Leonids shower in November. Both showers are comparable, but because the Perseids shower occurs during summer it is perceived as the brighter one. They are best observed in rural areas.

In recent years, the intensity of meteor showers has decreased significantly. In the early 1990s, meteor showers sometimes seemed like meteor downpours, with meteors numbering more than 400 per hour.

Copyright 2009 RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

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