Marshall Space Flight Center
Media Advisory: 05-134
Attention: News Directors
Thursday, Aug. 11
'Celestial Fireworks' from Perseid Meteor Showers to Light Up the Sky Aug. 11-12!
To schedule interviews: Steve Roy,
- Thursday, Aug. 11, through Friday, Aug. 12, is the best period to observe the annual Perseid meteor shower -- when tiny bits and pieces of the Comet Swift-Tuttle "shower" Earth’s skies.
- Perseids appear each August as Earth passes close to the comet’s orbit around the Sun. Swift-Tuttle is a large comet -- its nucleus is about 10 miles across -- and dumps considerable dust and debris, creating meteors near Earth.
- The Perseid shower is one of two "showy" annual meteor showers -- the other the Geminids shower in December -- that has meteor rates high enough to capture the attention of even the most casual sky watcher.
- Astronomers say people all around the world can expect to see the "celestial fireworks," which will hurl pieces of meteors at a rate of nearly 100 per hour on the night of Aug. 11. At its peak in 1993, the Perseid meteor shower had rates over three times normal – about 350 meteors per hour.
- Optimum viewing occurs under clear skies, after the Moon sets. England and western Europe will be the best places to observe the maximum shower. However, the shower will not disappoint those on the other side of the Atlantic, where sky watchers with good, clear skies may see as many as 80 meteors per hour.
- To interview a NASA expert about the Perseid meteor shower, contact Steve Roy in the Public and Employee Communications Office of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Public and Employee Communications Office
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