ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Get ready for an all-natural light show in the night sky. The Perseid meteor shower, which is considered the northern hemisphere’s most popular meteor shower of the year, peaks tonight and into tomorrow morning.
It may be cloudy tonight so you might not be able to see it. But you may still be able to catch a glimpse Wednesday and Thursday night.
The Perseids get their name from the constellation Perseus because they appear to radiate from that spot in the sky, but the constellation isn’t the source. When comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them. This time each year, Earth passes by debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which burns up in our atmosphere.
“Comets are those cosmic litterers of the solar system. They leave behind little bits of dust and rock and debris,” explains Will Snyder, manager of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center. “As the Earth goes through that same place in space, those little particles get superheated in the atmosphere and can create those brilliant streaks of light we see overhead.”
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseids are best viewed during the pre-dawn hours, though at times it is possible to see some as early as 10 p.m.
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