NASA caught fireballs from Perseid meteor shower on camera [video]

The Perseid meteor shower, one the biggest and brightest of the year, is currently underway. Even though it’s not visible in some parts of the southern hemisphere, you can still enjoy the Perseid thanks to this live stream.

In addition, NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network captured fireballs from the Perseid meteors shower as it streaked overhead on Saturday and Sunday, ahead of the meteor shower’s peak on Wednesday.

Perseid meteor shower

The Perseids occur every year between 17 July and 24 August as Earth moves through the debris and dust trail left over from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth is currently passing through that 26-kilometre-wide stream of dust particles.

NASA explained all meteors are associated with one particular shower and have similar orbits, that’s why we see the same meteor showers each year. They all appear to come from the same place in the sky, called the radiant.

If you’re situated in the northern hemisphere, the peak of Perseid meteor shower will be on Wednesday evening, 12 August 2020.

“Meteor showers take their name from the location of the radiant. The Perseid radiant is in the constellation Perseus. Similarly, the Geminid meteor shower, observed each December, is named for a radiant in the constellation Gemini”.


Watch: Perseid fireballs caught on camera

Also read: – How to photograph a meteor shower

This year’s Perseid meteor shower took a bit of a knock in visibility thanks to the last quarter moon phase, also known as a bright half-moon. Unfortunately, it had an impact on visibility on some areas.

The last-quarter moon will hover low over the horizon in the predawn darkness during the Perseid peak, drowning out some meteors with its glare. Some years, though, between 50 and 120 streaks per hour could be visible during the peak.

How to see Perseids meteor shower streaks

If you’re anywhere else in the world, you’d still be able to see the Perseid meteor shower, however, it will only grow dimmer from now until 24 August 2020. Astronomer Anna Ross from the Royal Observatory Greenwich explains:

“During the peak night of the shower, you will be able to find it in the north-east of the sky, getting higher throughout the night. You don’t have to be able to see Perseus to spot meteors, however, as they will be moving away from the radiant across the whole sky in every direction”.

You’ll need some patience if you want to get the full effect. You don’t have to know where Perseus or any other constellations are; just go outside, preferably after midnight, and look up.

Let your eyes adjust to the darkness, then wait for faint streaks of light to appear. Alternatively, turn to NASA’s All-Sky Fireball Network, a system of 17 skywatching cameras, and hope they capture some amazing footage.

NASA uses the information compiled by the Fireball Network to better understand the space objects zooming around near Earth, such as cometary debris, meteoroids and asteroids.

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