NASA Chat: Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Perseids!
On the night of Aug. 12-13, astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center answered your questions about the 2011 Perseids meteor shower via an "Up All Night" live Web chat.
Click here to see a full transcript of the overnight chat (PDF, 540 Kb).
You can also see a Perseid fireball composite
from the nights of Aug. 11-13, courtesy of ELP Allsky in El Paso, Texas.
More About the Perseids
The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris. These bits of ice and dust -- most of them more than 1,000 years old -- burn up, or ablate, in the Earth's atmosphere.
The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere. Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors appear to radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.
More About the Chat Experts
Janet Anderson, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.