Perseid fireballs are peaking soon (esp Aug 12-13, 2013)

perseids fireball NASAWe are fortunate enough to live in a “dark skies” community so we see amazing objects in our night skies like meteors, the Milky Way, the Big and Small Dippers, International Space Station and satellite fly-bys, and much more.

This weekend stargazers will be treated to the annual Perseid (per-see’-id) meteor shower that can be seen with the naked eye (in other words, no telescope required!)

According to NASA, the Perseid meteor shower comes from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every year in early- to mid-August, Earth passes through a cloud of dust sputtered off the comet as it approaches the sun.

Bill Cooke and his team at of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office have been tracking fireball activity since 2008, and they have built up a database of hundreds of events to analyze. The data point to the Perseids as the ‘fireball champion’ of annual meteor showers.

Since 2008, the Perseids have produced more fireballs than any other annual meteor shower. The Geminids are a close second, but they are not as bright as the Perseids. "The average peak magnitude for a Perseid observed by our cameras is -2.7; for the Geminids, it is -2," explains Bill Cooke. "So on average, Geminid fireballs are about a magnitude fainter than those in the Perseids."

Since 2008, the Perseids have produced more fireballs than any other annual meteor shower. The Geminids are a close second, but they are not as bright as the Perseids, according to Bill Cooke at NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

Although the fireball action runs from mid-July to mid-August, Space.com reports the peak activity will be on the nights of August 12 and 13 between the hours of 10:30 PM to 4:30 AM local time.  Before midnight the meteor rate will start out low, then will increase as the night wears on, peaking before sunrise when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky.

The Perseid meteor rate from dark-sky sites could top 100 per hour during peak so get as far away from city lights as possible to enjoy the magical light show.

We hope you enjoy today’s Friday Fotos and NASA’s ScienceCast Perseid Fireballs video (also below) and check out some links at the bottom to learn more.

perseid meteor shower david kingham photography

Credit: David Kingham/DavidKinghamPhotography via Space.com

perseids nasa sciencecast

perseids nasa sciencecast

Above 2 photos are screenshots from below NASA video

Also check out a breathtaking photo of a Perseid meteor during an aurora … and learn more about meteors, astroids and other events in the night skies at http://science.nasa.gov or www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch or www.space.com .

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂 j & B

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