August is a thrilling time of the year for astronomers and enthusiasts alike. This month, the Perseid meteor shower is expected to reach its annual peak, meaning that you’ll get a front-row seat to a spectacular night sky lit up by hundreds of shooting stars. Here’s all you need to know to prepare for this year’s event.
What is the Perseid meteor shower?
Every year like clockwork, the earth passes through the Swift-Tuttle comet’s tail, a cloud of space dust emitted from the comet itself that forms a cloud in its wake. When that happens, burning debris from the comet is released into the earth’s atmosphere. The visual representation of that process is a series of bright shooting stars visible after sundown — the Perseids.
The name of this meteor shower comes from the constellation Perseus where the meteors are said to originate. This meteor shower is one of the most highly anticipated all year, as you can see a whopping 150 shooting stars in a single hour.