May 22, 2024

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7:15 AM | *The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on Friday night/early Saturday (August 12th-13th)…the full moon will be a hindrance this year* — Arcfield Weather

2 min read

It is estimated that Perseid meteoroids hit our atmosphere at about 132,000 miles per hour to produce the annual light show and this meteor shower is usually rich in “fireballs” because of the size of the parent comet.  Comet Swift-Tuttle has a huge nucleus – about 26 kilometers in diameter – whereas most other comets are much smaller with nuclei only a few kilometers across.  Comet Swift-Tuttle has a very eccentric – oblong – orbit that takes this comet outside the orbit of Pluto when farthest from the sun, and inside the Earth’s orbit when closest to the sun. It orbits the sun in a period of about 133 years. Every time this comet passes through the inner solar system, the sun warms and softens up the ices in the comet, causing it to release fresh comet material into its orbital stream. Typically, meteors are only the size of pebbles, some as small as a grain of sand, but Comet Swift-Tuttle produces a large number of meteoroids that are large enough to produce “fireballs”.  In fact, the Perseid meteor shower is considered the “fireball champion” of all of the annual meteor showers.

Hopefully, skies will cooperate on the peak nights/early mornings of Friday/Saturday August 12th-13th, but if not, there will be other opportunities this year for viewing meteor showers.  The next one of note in 2022 will be the Orionids which peak on October 20-21, that one brings about 10-20 shooting stars per hour.

Meteorologist Paul Dorian

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Paul Dorian

2022-08-08 11:15:00

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