The Perseid meteor shower, one of the most popular annual “meteor” shows, peaked this week, offering a spectacular show for sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere.
While the Perseids are generally considered one of the best meteor showers, with around 50 to 75 meteors per hour, this year has slightly fewer meteors than usual. That’s because the first quarter moon drowned out some of the fainter meteors with its brilliance.
Despite the interference of moonlight, photographers around the world have captured many stunning images of Perseid meteor trails piercing the night sky.
Related: 10 facts about the Perseid meteor shower
Photographing the stunning Perseid 2020 meteor shower? Let us know! Send pictures and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Perseid meteor shower occurs annually from mid-July to late August, when Earth passes through debris stream left by comet Swift-Tuttle, orbiting the sun every 135 years.
Although the meteor shower is active for about five weeks, it reaches its peak annual activity around August 12, according to the American Meteor Association. This year, the Perseids peaked before dawn on Wednesday (August 12), but visibility is better on Tuesday night (August 11) before the moon rises and begins to brighter than dimmer meteors. .
In the photo above, taken by astronomer Barbara Matthews in Humboldt County, California on Tuesday (August 11), a brilliant pink and green meteor streaks across the starry night sky near the Milky Way twinkle. Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright planet Jupiter, with a slightly dimmer shining Saturn on its left.
Matthews captured this image at 10:30 p.m. local time, about 90 minutes before the moon rises, when the sky is not obstructed by the moonlight.
In the Nevada desert, near Las Vegas, astrophotographer Tyler Leavitt has captured his own stunning views of the Perseid meteor and the Milky Way.
In the image above, a pink and green meteor streak looks into the view from the left side of the frame, while Jupiter and Saturn glow side by side in the center. Leavitt’s second photo, below, shows an asteroid appearing straight towards Jupiter.
While meteors often appear as white “shooting stars” in the night sky, they can also glow in vibrant colors like pink, green, orange and purple.
The color of a meteor trail depends on its chemical composition; When a meteor ignites in the atmosphere, elements such as calcium, sodium and iron begin to ionize, producing colorful light. Perseids are known to produce pink and green light streaks, while the Geminid meteor shower in December tends to produce meteors with emerald green streaks.
Related: How to see the most beautiful meteor shower of 2020
If you’ve missed the climax of the Perseid meteor shower, it’s not too late to catch it! Rain will remain active until around August 26, according to the American Meteor Association.
To search for meteors, you will want to find a dark sky away from the city lights. The Perseid meteorites will emerge from the constellation Perseus (hence the name). The moonlight may still obscure some of the fainter meteors, but the moon is currently weakening, so the night sky will darken until the new moon next Tuesday (August 18).
Editor’s note: If you take a great photo or video of the Perseid meteor shower in 2020 and want to share it with Space.com for a possible story or collection, feel free to post the image and comment. email@example.com.
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