Sky-watchers and meteor-viewers everywhere rejoice! The Perseid meteor is said to peak this weekend, and it’s sure to be beautiful. Unfortunately, there may be a slight hiccup to anyone’s meteor shower-viewing plan. Coincidentally, the moon will be making her entrance around the same time as the shower. And since she’s 80% full this weekend, she might actually block some of that meteor shower-viewing activity. (Ugh, thanks a lot, Moon. It’s not like we wanted to see the Perseids.)
Since this meteor shower happens only once a year, it’s probably a major bummer to all who were hoping to experience the phenomenal event in all of its un-obstructed glory. Might we suggest postponing for a year from now? Just kidding — although, actually, the 2018 shower is expected to coincide with a new moon. So maybe that’s not such a bad plan.
You may be asking yourself at this point, “How are meteor showers created and where do they come from?” Well, allow us to address your curious nature by giving a brief overview.
Marvelous, stunning debris. But, debris, none the less.
“Every year the Earth travels through dust shed by Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle on its 133-year orbit of the sun… As our planet speeds through the comet’s train of dust, tiny particles the size of a grain of sand hit the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 132,000 mph, generating temperatures of thousands of degrees celsius.” Dr. Michele Bannister adds, “This is a lot of compression – it heats the air and that is what causes that bright streak… The meteor itself, the solid object, will burn up and that can also give you colours as the materials fluoresce.”
If you’re still bent on seeing the meteor shower, and you want to skip the part where you camp out under the big sky, you can view it with a click of your mouse. Apparently, there’s a live stream on YouTube. We’ve even located it right here for you!
And if this doesn’t do it for you, you may benefit from checking out Earthsky.org’s article, “How to watch 2017’s Perseid meteors.” There are a lot of helpful tips on how to view the meteor shower live.
Happy viewing, everybody!