Annual Meteor Shower Lights up Night Sky

The Perseids Meteor shower as seen from Orr Springs Road in Mendocino County

Ever year in late July and early August the Perseids meteors light up the night sky. Known as the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids will peak the night of August 11th and 12th, though many can be seen the week before and after. On a normal year, skywatchers can expect to see somewhere around 80 meteors per hour, or one about every 45 seconds.

The Perseids meteors are small chunks of a celestial rock that fall from space through the Earth’s atmosphere. Traveling at approximately 133,200 mph, most are similar in size to a grain of sand and almost never hit the ground, but if one does, it is called a meteorite. The annual event occurs during the first few weeks of August every year when the Earth skirts along the edge of a debris field left by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The name Perseids comes from a placed called the radiant, which 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.

No telescopes or binoculars are required to view the Perseids, though.


August 11, 2022