A new research from NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office identifies the Perseids as the “fireball champion” of annual meteor showers. This year’s Perseid display peaks on August 12th and 13th.
Images © NASA
The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides, a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus.
The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 133-year orbit. Most of the particles have been part of the cloud for around a thousand years. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1865. The rate of meteors originating from this filament is much higher than for the older part of the stream.