PHOTOGRAPHERS managed to capture huge meteor fireballs in all their glory last night as the Perseid meteor shower reached peak activity and shined at its brightest.
If you want to wish upon a shooting star then you haven’t missed out as the meteors should be visible for most of August but if you wish you watched them last night then have a look at these photos.
This photo was captured next to Radimlja, a stećak necropolis located near Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina[/caption]
They are called Perseid meteors because they appear to shoot from the Perseus star constellation.
The Perseids are one of the brightest meteor showers of the year so can be seen without a telescope and you don’t need to be an avid astronomer.
What you will need to do is look towards the northeast any time between midnight and sunrise.
The meteor shower is usually active between July 17 and August 24 but is thought to be brightest around August 12.
This is what the meteors looked like last night in southern Israel[/caption]
You will also need to be somewhere that isn’t polluted with artificial light and has a clear view of the horizon.
It can take around half an hour for your eyes to adjust to the dark so budding stargazers will need to be patient when they get to their dark viewing location.
A meteor flying over Orpington in the UK[/caption]
Also, try not to look at phone screens or any other artificial light sources that you may have with you as this will affect your ability to see the faint meteors.
The average speed of a Perseid meteor is 36 miles per second.
The shower is caused by the comet Swift-Tuttle striking the Earth’s atmosphere each year, resulting in little bits of debris flying off which burn up become the meteors.
This photo of one of the Perseid meteors was taken in Hungary[/caption]
What's the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?
Here's what you need to know, according to Nasa…
- Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
- Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
- Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it’ll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
- Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn’t vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth’s atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
- Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)
Meteors are essentially space rocks burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere[/caption]
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Will you be watching the meteor shower? Let us know in the comments!
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