Perseid meteor shower: Incredible timelapse shows 300 shooting stars an hour

We are all made of stars The night sky blankets Highway 2 on a balmy summer night.
Image Erik Pierce

We are all made of stars The night sky blankets Highway 2 on a balmy summer night. Image Erik Pierce

A clear sky could make way for an incredible natural show of streaking fireball meteors and so far, (as of Friday afternoon) the forecast is looking flawless!

While the earth passes through the comet's debris field every year, Swift-Tuttle itself is not expected to pass the earth again until 2126.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus in the sky and hence the name Perseids.

The Perseids were called the "Tears of St. Lawrence" in medieval Europe because they occur around the anniversary of the death of Laurentius, a Christian deacon who was martyred by Valerian, a Roman emperor, in the year 258 A.D. Historical observations show that Perseids has been a super active meteor shower for a long time.

"The moonless sky this year means the viewing will be excellent, and the shower's predicted peak is timed especially well for North America", Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope magazine's observing editor, said in a statement.

"Whereas observations of the comet have been identified dating back to Chinese records at least as early as 69 BC, the meteors themselves have been recognised only since around 830 AD".

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The Wye Marsh Wildife Centre on Hwy 12 in Midland is hosting a Perseid Meteor Viewing Event. The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but they look the brightest against the darkest sky, which is straight up.

This year's dramatic meteor shower was even more special thanks to the Moon.

Greater numbers of meteors are visible when the radiant is high.

To enjoy meteor phenomena, you do not need any equipment at all.

Aswin Sekhar is an Indian astrophysicist working for University of Oslo, Norway.

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