What is a Meteor Shower?
A meteor shower is made up of debris from comets. While debris floats around space, it’s called meteoroid. When meteoroids fall and burn, they are considered meteors. We are able to view a meteor shower when Earth enters a stream of debris that has been shed from a comet.
About the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid Meteor Shower is named after the constellation Perseus, the point in the sky from which the meteors appear to be falling. The debris which makes up the shower is from the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which has made many trips around our solar system.
This year, the Perseid Meteor Shower began on July 17th and will continue through August 24th. The peak is August 12th and 13th. This shower is the best known annual meteor shower.
Viewing the Perseid Meteor Shower
In 2010, the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower falls on a moonless night. That’s the evening of August 12th through the morning of August 13th. Because this night is moonless you will easily be able view many bright meteors. If you are able to view the shower from a dark area, you will see even more meteors and some faint falling stars.
The evening of August 12th, you should set up while facing east. Around midnight, the shower show will really begin, and you should look directly up. You will not need a telescope to view the shower.
If you want to view the Perseid Meteor Shower from a dark area, you need to travel at least 40 miles away from any major city. If you do this, be sure to bring with you basic necessities such as a comfortable chair, blankets or towels, water, insect repellent, snacks, and a flashlight. Let people know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.