The best place to see the Perseid meteor shower


Perseid Visibility Map for 2014
NASA

The early hours of tomorrow morning is the best time to see the Perseid meteor shower as the Earth travels through the debris that lies in the path of the Swift-Tuttle comet. But where is the best place?

The show is so named because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus and it happens every year from mid-July, peaking between 9 and 14 August when more than 60 meteors an hour streak through the night sky.

Here's a handy map from NASA which shows where you can see the fireworks – unfortunately for Melbourne, the home of Cosmos, there will be none. You'll have to tell us what it was like.

The Perseids are best seen in the Northern Hemisphere or the higher latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere – further south than about Brisbane and Perseus is just too close to the horizon to see much of anything.

But for the REAL ringside seat you have to go to space. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station see the meteors streak past almost at eye level.

NASA analysed Ron Garan's photo of a fireball below and believes it was caused by a piece of debris only 1 centimeter in diameter colliding with the Earth's atmosphere at more than 200,000 kph.

A Perseid meteor as photographed by Ron Garan while aboard the International Space Station on 13 August 2011.
Ron Garan/NASA

  1. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/EyeLevel_Perseid.html
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