The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, usually producing up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower’s peak usually occurs on August 12th - 13th but meteors can be seen any time from July 23rd - August 22nd.
Viewing The Perseids in 2019
This year the new Moon is going to block out a lot of the fainter meteors but its still worth looking as its so prolific there will be plenty to see! The peak of the meteor shower is on the evenings of 12th and 13th of August. Meteors will will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the east at about 22:00. They will seem like they’re all over the sky but will look like they are radiating from the constellation Perseus.
What are Meteor Showers?
A comet is a body of icy materials with rocky matter embedded. As a comet travels close to the Sun, it heats up and part of the comet vaporizes. After a comet has orbited the Sun many times, lots of small pieces of the comet are left along the comet’s path. A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through the path of a comet. In the case of the Perseids, we pass through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
At the peak of the meteor shower, we reach the densest part of the comet’s path. This is when the bits of comet debris, most no larger than a grain of sand, create streaks of light in the night sky as they burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Bits of debris which enter Earth’s atmosphere are called meteors. On any night, there are several small meteors which shoot across the sky and when we pass through a comet’s path we have a meteor shower. During a meteor shower, tens to hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. Many meteor showers can be predicted and occur at the same time each year.