In the recent days, we have been hearing about the asteroids, meteoroids and comets. The meteors are believed to be caused when our planet crosses the orbital path of Comet 96P/Machholz. Also, when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes and turns into a meteor. Well, this is what we see as a streak of light in the sky. Meteors are sometimes mistaken as shooting stars but they are just tiny pieces of rock. Well, it is worth mentioning here that an annual meteor shower is all set to light up the sky tonight with up to 20 shooting stars visible per hour.
The Delta Aquariids meteor shower can be seen in the UK, however, it is best seen from the southern hemisphere. Dust coming off the comet smashes into our atmosphere and lights up, giving the effect of what looks like shooting stars.
According to the EarthSky, nearly five to ten per cent of Aquariid meteors leave trails of light lasting a couple seconds. The comet sheds particles that then smash into Earth’s atmosphere – around 60 miles above our planet – and travels across the skies at about 90,000 miles per hour. During the process, it vaporizes into shooting stars and leaving a trail of blazing light behind.
The meteors are visible from mid-July to mid-August each year. However, the display peaks on July 28 to 29. The best time for seeing the meteors are midnight, but before dawn.
Well, the next meteor shower is the Perseids which peaks on 11 August. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), Perseids is the most popular because the weather is warm so people are more likely to go outside.
“They reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum,” according to the AMS website.