The space calendar is busy for the next few days due to two events; the Supermoon and the Perseid meteor shower. The last Supermoon took place about a month ago, and you can read a blog on that here. The Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 10th, 11th, and 12th while the Supermoon occurs on August 10th.
With the moon looking bigger and brighter than ever on the 10th, light pollution will be a major interference. Skies will cooperate and should remain clear on the 10th making the Supermoon clearly visible. Light pollution will not make this shower a complete bust, but amount of meteors per hour will be very few compared to the average of this shower. On the evening of the 11th and 12th, skies will begin to cloud up which will further hinder the viewing of the Perseids. Despite the difficult viewing conditions, it's always interesting to know facts on each forecasted meteor shower.
The Perseid meteors are actually comet dust from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth passes through this comet dust once per year on its orbit around the sun. The name of the shower is derived from the constellation Perseus. When viewing the shower, each meteor looks to originate from the point of this constellation.
During the peak of the meteor shower, 50-100 meteors per hour can be visible if under optimal darkness. Due to the large amount of meteors seen, this event is considered to be the most plentiful shower of the year. Each meteor will travel at about 37 miles per second!
This event is only visible from the Northern Hemisphere. Those in the Southern Hemisphere would have to look low on the horizon to see a meteor, if any at all. The Perseids occur every August and a full moon is not forecast during the peak time of the shower in 2015. As long as the weather holds out, plan to view The Perseids next August!
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