The Perseids are meteor showers that occur every year in July and August. They are caused by the meteor, Swift-Tuttle, which leaves a trail of dust and rocks when it orbits the sun. When the Earth passes through the path of this trail, the rocks and dust interact with the Earth’s atmosphere and create bright lights and fireballs in the sky. These are the meteor showers called the Perseids.
This year, they have been visible since July 17 and the peak viewings are over the next 3 days, August 12 and 13. So pull out those telescopes and train them keenly on the night sky! Watch out though, there is a full moon coming on August 15, so this bright moon might overshadow the beautiful meteor showers.
Why are they called the Perseids? They originate from a point in the sky near the constellation Perseus.
What is the difference between an asteroid and a meteor?
An asteroid is a large rock or piece of metal that orbits around the Sun. When pieces of asteroids break off, they are called meteorites. When these meteorites enter the earth’s atmosphere, they vapourize and form bright streaks of light, called meteors.
Here are some links where you can find out more about asteroids and meteors:
Written by: Sunaina Murthy