The Fiesta of the Fireballs is back for 201
The Perseids are an annual gift from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Debris particles associated with the comet shoot up in the earth's atmosphere and give rise to the illusion of falling stars. The grazing lights seem to come from the direction of the constellation Perseus, hence the name Perseids.
The Perseids occur in mid-July and remain active for most of the month of August. "Normal rates in rural areas are between 50 and 75 shower members per hour," says the American Meteor Society.
We have a bad timing to deal with this year. The moon will be almost full just before the peak of the shower, and its brightness will dampen the detection of meteors. "But the Perseids are rich in bright meteors and fireballs, so it's still worth going out in the early morning to catch some nature fireworks," NASA says. You need to stay awake until the wee hours of the morning, or wake up before sunrise to spot most of the meteors. If you are not a morning person, you can go out late at night and look for fireballs. Just do not expect to see as many as the early morning spectators.
You do not have to leave the comfort of your computer to enjoy the Perseids. If clouds or other obstacles are in the way, you can get a live camera feed from Alabama from 18:00 on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page. PT on the 12th of August.
As with any meteor shower, it is wise to cut out some of the time to sit back and watch the night sky. Try to find a place that is open and as far from the city lights as possible. Let your eyes get used to the darkness.
Even if the moon falls, you should be able to catch some heavenly fireworks.
Originally published on 6th of August.