While each meteor is only about the size of a grain of sand, when these babies reach speeds of 130,000 miles per hour, we see some seriously cool stuff. This is the incredible speed at which the Earth’s atmosphere collided with it, before burning up in scorching temperatures and making for stunning nighttime spectacles.
by Tom Acris, technology reporter
Sunday, August 13, 2023, 04:51, UK
The annual summer meteor shower reaches its peak tonight, providing the best opportunity to witness one of the most spectacular displays of light in the night sky.
It has been active since last month and lasts until August 24, but is moving from Saturday night into Sunday morning with up to 100 stars per hour.
From super bright fireballs to meteors with long enough trajectories to follow, it promises to be an amazing sight.
What is the best time to watch the show?
If you can stay awake, the Royal Observatory Greenwich recommends between midnight and 5.30am on a Sunday.
This is when the sky is darkest and meteors are highest in the sky.
But since Perseid is always above the horizon from the UK, you should be able to catch some meteors from the sunset.
Experts suggest that it is best to try to spot them when the moon is below the horizon or when it is in the crescent phase, because otherwise it pollutes the natural light and prevents faint meteors from appearing.
Of course, moon or otherwise, the less light pollution the better – you won’t have as much luck looking out from the busy streets of central London as you would looking out from an open field.
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Any other advice for getting a good view?
You can see the Perseid meteor shower best in the Northern Hemisphere.
But unlike Some of the rare comet sightings we’ve had this yearYou won’t need any special equipment.
They’re best seen with the naked eye, though a comfortable comfy chair won’t spoil it.
As for this light pollution, try to avoid it by going to the countryside or just a park or garden.
The Royal Observatory Greenwich also suggests giving your eyes 15 minutes or so to adjust to the dark, which means staying away from your phone.
And of course, fingers crossed the weather doesn’t spoil things where you live. While a clear night is expected in the southeast, east and central England, it appears more cloudy elsewhere.
If it didn’t let you down this weekend, you still have more than a week to run its course.
How safe are we from the most dangerous meteorites?
Why do we even see them?
Good question, given that every meteorite is about the size of a grain of sand.
But when these kids hit 130,000 miles per hour, we see some seriously cool stuff.
This is the incredible speed at which it hit Earth’s atmosphere and then began to burn at sweltering temperatures between 1648°C (2998.4°F) and 5537°C (9998.6°F).
They are produced each year as our planet plows through the dusty debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle.
As for the name Perseid, that’s because the meteorites appear to originate from the constellation Perseus, the hero of Greek mythology who killed Medusa.
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