Dusty trails of asteroids and comets are spread randomly in our galaxy and as our earth passes by them during its revolution, we come to see meteor showers in our sky. So let’s have a quick moment of education for these thrilling experiences that we have on our night sky.
In short, there are nine meteor showers that can be seen throughout the year by different parts of the world. These are named after the constellations they streak across.
Meteoroids which are burnt in the atmosphere can be as small as a grain of dust or as big as a small asteroid. These are called meteorites once they hit the Earth’s surface. On most of the regular night, astronomy buffs might notice a handful of meteors in the sky but during a met-eor shower, there might be as many as 140 meteors visible per hour.
The Next Meteor Shower- The Perseids
This is the favourite meteor shower for most astronomy enthusiasts. It occurs during summers and is usually active from July 17 to August 26. This met-eor shower reaches its peak during the early hours or the late evening of August 11 and August 12. At this time, generally, the weather is light and the meteor count of Perseids is also high making this a visual treat.
Unfortunately, this year due to the current phase of the moon, fewer meteors will be visible during the shower. Viewers of the northern hemisphere and as far as 51 degrees south can expect to see around 15 to 20 meteors per hour in the sky during the peak time according to the estimates of NASA. Generally, viewers are able to see around 60 meteors per hour during the peak time for the Perseid shower. This year the peak is expected to between 2 am at night and dawn.
These meteors generally come from the Perseus constellation and the dust trails causing a number of meteor showers are comprised of comets. If your view of the sky gets disturbed by the overcast clouds, you can watch the cosmic fireworks via the NASA Met-eor Watch Facebook page that streams live meteor showers via the Marshall Space Flight Center of NASA located at Huntsville, Alabama.
The origin of meteors
The ice on comets and asteroids melt as they approach the sun and they begin to shed rock and dust. These asteroids, however, stop shedding materials as they sail away from the sun. all meteor showers seem to originate from one region of the sky and this is generally the constellation from which their names are derived. For example, the meteor shower of Perseids originates from the Perseus constellation while the Orionids gets its name from the Orion constellation.
Other upcoming meteor showers
- Orinionids- Active between October 2 and November 7.
Peak- October 21 and October 22.
- Leonids- Active between November 6 and November 30.
Peak- November 16 and November 17.
- Geminids- Active between December 4 and December 17.
Peak- December 13 and December 14.
- Ursids- Active between December 17 and December 26
Peak- December 22 and December 23.