By NASA/George Varros [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
So, it's August, that time of year when the Earth's orbit takes us through the debris field of meteoroids left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. And what do we get? Quite a show, in the form of the Perseid meteor showers. Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun in a eccentric (elongated) path, and as it moves into the inner solar system, the warmth of the sun causes bits and pieces of it to break off, leaving a trail that traces its orbit. As we pass through, the comet rubble hits our atmosphere at tremendous speeds, heating up from the friction, and often disintegrating about sixty miles above the earth's surface. If any of the rubble were to land on Earth intact, that would be called a meteorite, though comet stuff isn't as hardy as asteroids bits, which make up the majority of meteorites.
By Philippe Tremblay (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Though experts note that it is difficult to pinpoint just when peak activity will occur, it's expected to be best on the nights of August 11-12 and 12-13, no matter where you are. It is also suggested after midnight and later is when you you'll get a good show, with the pre-dawn hours your best bet. Though you don't need to know where the constellation Persues is to see the meteor shower, the name Perseid is given to this event, because the meteors appear to come from this constellation. So grab a blanket, a hammock or lawn chair, and sit back and enjoy the show.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.