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Perseid Meteor Shower 2021 Begins Tonight: All You Need to Know

SkyWatchers will see a meteor shower tonight. (Image Credits: Shutterstock/Representational)

SkyWatchers will see a meteor shower tonight. (Image Credits: Shutterstock/Representational)

These starry colourful streaks come from broken pieces of comets that leave a dusty trail behind when they come around the sun.

Tonight is going to be very special for skywatchers around the world as it marks the beginning of the best meteor shower of the year. The weeks of happiness and immense satisfaction for sky lovers will start tonight with the beginning of the Perseids meteor shower. Frequently leaving bright and colourful trails, the Perseids streak through the Earth’s atmosphere and create a wonderful show in the sky. The meteor shower can be seen all over the sky from the northern hemisphere.

According to NASA, the best time to catch these wonderful fireballs in the sky is pre-dawn hours, but the show can start as early as 10 pm. For people who plan to watch the show for the first time, binoculars or telescopes are not necessary. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is to keep your phone aside or you might miss the shooting stars. Since the meteors pierce the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of about 59 kilometres per second, it is not hard to easily miss an amazing streak.

The meteor show is expected to last till August 24 and would peak during mid-August, according to NASA. During its peak, 100 meteors per hour can be seen in the sky. The Perseids draw their name from the Perseus constellation as their radiant — the point where they appear to emanate — seems close to the Perseus constellation, 24th largest constellation in the sky.

These starry colourful streaks come from broken pieces of comets that leave a dusty trail behind when they come around the sun. When those small pieces of space rocks hit the Earth’s atmosphere, the aerodynamic heating leaves trails behind and around their path. Most of the time, these particles are smaller than a grain of sand. The Perseids originate from a comet named Swift-Tuttle that orbits the sun in 133 years. The comet’s last close approach to the sun was in 1992. The leftover particles from the comet with a 26 kilometres-wide nucleus, however, create a meteor shower on Earth every year.

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first published:July 15, 2021, 20:58 IST