If you’re looking for amazing entertainment at the incredible price of free, all you have to do is walk out into the night on August 13th and prepare for the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower. The Perseids have already started their annual pummeling of Earth’s atmosphere, which led some individuals in Utah to think they were seeing meteors on the night of July 27th, 2016, when in fact, they were seeing the space junk remains of the Chinese rocket, Chang Zheng 7. But this doesn’t make the Perseids less fantastic.
This year’s shower is expected to peak with nearly twice as many shooting stars as we are used to. That means as many as 200 shooting stars per hour may be visible in a clear night sky. Whoa!
But where do these shooting stars come from? And what makes them so important?
Perseid meteors are the leftover junk from the passing by of the comet Swift-Tuttle, and because it appears about every 133 years (with its last appearance in 1992), it’s likely that the meteors we’ll be seeing throughout the month and especially on August 13th, didn’t come from the most recent pass.
Learn all about how comets and meteors work, and how and where to best view them in Night Vision: Meteor Showers.
Night Vision: Meteor Showers is presented by Brandon Crowley on Thursday, August 11th and Saturday, August 13th, in the Hansen Dome Theater at 6:45pm. Tickets available online or at the Clark Planetarium ticket desk. Free for members and $2 for everyone else.