A few Perseids can typically be seen each night till August 24. The small meteor took only a fraction of a second to pass through this 10-degree field. "It is a really cool thing to think about as you watch these meteors falling from the sky", says Quanzhi Ye, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology, US.
The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks TONIGHT, Aug. 12-13. The particles (meteors) burn up due to gases in our atmosphere, leaving a bright streak in the sky. Most vaporise as they descend, but some explode. The orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the comet responsible for the Perseid shower, is almost perpendicular to Earth's orbit. The Perseids are called so because the point from which they appear, lies in the constellation - Perseus. The main factors in when a meteor shower will occur are comets, icy space bodies that orbit the sun. As the rock falls toward Earth, the air rushing against the rock heats it, creating a glowing hot trail of air as the rock zips through the atmosphere. The meteoroid vaporises and turns into a meteor. Meteors are made of dust and ice.
But for a layperson, a strong meteor shower is just a pretty sight. Meteor showers can be seen easily with the naked eye.
"All of these meteor showers are the Earth passing through the debris left behind by a comet earlier", said Roy Gal, associate astronomer with the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Geminids, next active December 4th through December 16, 2018.
But the number of meteors, about one, or fewer per minute failed to dazzle in the Ramon Crater's night sky.