Skygazers in Bulgaria Too Hope for Spectacular Show

Environment | August 12, 2012, Sunday // 19:46|  views

The Perseids are among the most popular of showers, in part due to their occurrence during the Northern Hemisphere's summer. Photo by BBC

Say a wish because the annual Perseid meteors are set to put on a spectacular sky show this weekend, one of the most popular events in the astronomical calendar.

The meteor rates are expected to reach as many as 100 per hour.

The Perseids are actually pieces of Comet Swift-Tuttle; each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris.

These tiny pieces of ice and dust (which range from the size of a grain of sand to around as big as a pea) hit the Earth's atmosphere at some 60km/s (134,000 mph).

The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.

From Bulgaria, the best time to see the Perseid shower is likely to be in the last hours on Sunday and the first two hours on Monday, when as many as 60 meteors an hour may be visible.

Their name comes from the fact that meteors in this shower radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

The Earth passed particularly close to Comet Swift-Tuttle in 1992, when the Perseids put on a spectacular display.

The meteor shower has since returned to normal. The comet will not approach so close again until around 2125.

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Tags: astronomy


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