Did You See the Perseids?

13 08 2007

Living in the middle of the city, as I do, I don’t expect to see much when it comes to catching meteor showers. I did got out to see if I might get a glimpse of the Perseids and I will try again. I should have done this last night! Nah, I’ll do you one better; here’s NASA’s astronomy photo of the day from Aug 12.

Perseids

Astronomer Fred Bruenjes recorded a series of many 30 second long exposures spanning about six hours on the night of 2004 August 11/12 using a wide angle lens.

The source of the shower is Comet Swift-Tuttle. Although the comet is nowhere near Earth, the comet’s tail does intersect Earth’s orbit. We glide through it every year in August. Tiny bits of comet dust hit Earth’s atmosphere traveling 132,000 mph. At that speed, even a smidgen of dust makes a vivid streak of light–a meteor–when it disintegrates. Because Swift-Tuttle’s meteors fly out of the constellation Perseus, they are called “Perseids.”

From NASA.

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