Meteors, or shooting stars, are pieces of space rock burning up in the atmosphere as gravity pulls them towards the earth. Most meteors are created from icy comets which undergo sublimation due to the sun, turning from ice to gas.
The ice evaporates and forms a stream of debris, slamming into our atmosphere and creating a spectacular display of meteor showers in the night sky.
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An annual meteor shower happens when our planet comes into a debris stream of a comet. Some major meteor showers like Lyrids and Geminids deliver 20 to 70 meteors per hour in a sporadic manner.
Meteor showers are best seen from the Northern or the Southern hemisphere, or more practically, from a remote village.
It’s raining meteors this monsoon, with the Perseid Meteor Shower starting mid-July and peaking around the end of August.
Considered the best meteor shower of the year by NASA, The Perseid Meteor Shower is best seen from the countryside, away from light pollution.
The Perseid meteor shower takes place every year between July and August. It is caused by a trail of debris from a giant comet called 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The comet has an oblong orbit and takes about 133 years to orbit the Sun.
Every year, between July 17 and August 24, Earth crosses the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, which is filled with years of debris from the comet. When these pieces smash with our Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they burn and light up the sky causing, the Perseid meteor shower. According to NASA, the meteor velocity is 59 km/second.
The magnetic fields of the sun distort and twist as the Earth rotates on its axis. When these fields become knotted together, they create sunspots. Usually, these sunspots occur in pairs.
As the temperature on the surface of the sun rises and falls, the sun boils and bubbles. Particles escape from the sun from the sunspot regions on the surface, throwing particles of plasma, known as solar wind, into space. These winds take about 40 hours to reach Earth, causing the magical displays.
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