Perseids Meteor Shower, 2012

Posted July 24, 2012 by User 1

The annual Perseids meteor shower has once again begun. This year's display is expected to be a normal one, peaking on August 12, 2012 at 12-14:00 UTC with a maximum zenith hourly rate of about 100 meteors, or about 1.7 meteors every minute. A waning crescent moon will rise an hour past local midnight in the Northern Hemisphere which may interfere with observations. A daily Perseids rate chart shows the results of recent observations.

Perseid meteors are named the shower's radiant in the constellation of Perseus -- in other words, tracing the path of all of the Perseids meteors should point to a common part of the sky where they all originate in, which happens to be Perseus. However, these meteors may appear anywhere in the sky and looking towards the radiant does not guarantee a better chance of seeing them.

The Perseids are caused by the debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, a short-period comet that orbits the Sun approximately every 133 years. It last reached perihelion (passed closest to the Sun) in 1992 and will do so again in 2126. Such passages are usually associated with higher-than-normal levels of activity for the Perseids.


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