The Perseid Meteor Shower is expected to be spectacular this year, peaking between midnight and dawn on August 12-13th, but visible now when the sky is clear. In fact, an estimated 1 inch (2.5cm) diameter Perseid meteor fragment was detected on August 3, 2010. It entered the atmosphere 70 miles (112km) above Paint Rock, Alabama, travelling at 134,000mph (215,600kph) and streaking across 65 miles (104km) of Earth’s atmosphere before finally burning up 56 miles (89.6km) above Macay Lake, near Warrior.

According to the NASA press release, “The meteor was about six times brighter than the planet Venus and would be classified as a fireball by meteor scientists.”

With a moonless sky at the time of this year's Perseid shower, this year is expected to provide perfect viewing. No telescope is needed, just find a comfortable spot to recline, with a blanket and gaze up at a clear patch of sky. The Perseids will appear as shooting stars, so have plenty of wishes ready. Look back along the path of a streaking meteor points toward the constellation Perseus in the northeastern nighttime sky.

All meteors are very small, grain of sand-to-pea sized dust debris, entering Earth’s atmosphere around 80 miles (128km) above the planet at high velocity. Contact with Earth’s atmosphere causes frictional heating that vaporizes the meteor, leaving behind the shooting star smoke trail.

The Perseid Shower is from the Comet Swift-Tuttle debris left behind in space, and Earth passes through it every August. The Perseids are just a tiny fraction of the 30,000 tons of space debris that enters the Earth’s atmosphere every year, most of which burn up in the atmosphere as meteors.

Via Marshall Space Flight Center & SpaceDaily

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

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