Feature

Bright Fireball Kicks Off Perseid Meteor Shower
08.06.10
 
A Perseid meteor, about 1 inch in diameter and moving at a speed of 134,000 mph, entered the atmosphere 70 miles above the town of Paint Rock, Ala., on August 3 at 9:56 p.m.

A Perseid meteor, about 1 inch in diameter and moving at a speed of 134,000 mph, entered the atmosphere 70 miles above the town of Paint Rock, Ala., on August 3 at 9:56 p.m. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC
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A map showing the path of a Perseid some 65 miles long from Paint Rock, Ala., to Macay Lake

A map showing the path of a Perseid some 65 miles long from Paint Rock, Ala., to Macay Lake. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC
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A Perseid meteor, about 1 inch in diameter and moving at a speed of 134,000 mph, entered the atmosphere 70 miles above the town of Paint Rock, Ala., on August 3 at 9:56 p.m. View Video: Perseid Meteor
On the night of August 3 at 9:56 p.m.a Perseid meteor -- about 1 inch in diameter and moving at a speed of 134,000 mph -- entered the atmosphere 70 miles above the town of Paint Rock, Ala. At such a tremendous velocity, the meteor cut a path some 65 miles long, finally burning up 56 miles above Macay Lake, just northeast of the town of Warrior. The meteor was about six times brighter than the planet Venus and would be classified as a fireball by meteor scientists.

The Perseid radiant was low in the sky when the meteor appeared --only 9.5 degrees elevation. Therefore, this meteor could be considered an “Earth grazer” because of its long, shallow path, with an atmospheric entry angle of only 12 degrees.

It’s a very good start to this year's Perseid meteor shower, which will peak on the night of Aug. 12-13 between midnight and dawn.

 
 
Janet Anderson
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-6162
Janet.L.Anderson@nasa.gov