On Monday, Daenarys and her dragons will be burning everything to ground on Game of Thrones. But the best fire show over the next few days will actually be happening in real life, in the sky, no Foxtel required. Though Australians may need to livestream it rather than simply look up.
This weekend, between August 11 and 13, the Perseids meteor shower is expected to peak. The Perseids, which come around every year, are widely regarded as the one of the best meteor showers of the year. However, this winter, a particularly bright moon might steal a little of the limelight. NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that because of the brightness of the Moon, which will be three quarters full and shining high in the sky when the Perseids are peaking around midnight in the US, American viewers will see roughly 40 to 50 meteors per hour instead of the usual 80 to 100.
The Moon will also make it a particularly bad year for viewing in Australia, where the peak will be around 6AM on August 12. Australia isn’t the best place to view the shower at the best of times, as the Perseids are largely obscured to most of Australia. Those in northern Australia are most likely to see a meteor or two.
Even so, the Perseids have some super bright meteors that are sure to put on a spectacular show if you catch a livestream, no matter how desperate the Moon is for attention.
“The Perseids appear to produce more fireballs than any other meteor shower, where fireballs are extra bright meteors,” Caitlin Ahrens, an astronomer at the University of Arkansas, told Gizmodo. “In the case of the Perseids, these get to be almost as bright as Venus. So you’ll have a better than decent chance of catching sight of a fireball, as well.”
The Perseids are leftover debris from Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which takes about 133 years to orbit the Sun. Though it last brushed up with the inner solar system in 1992, the debris train from the comet puts on a nice show for us Earthlings every year as our planet passes through it.
Slooh will be live streaming the whole thing starting on August 13 at 10AM AEST. You can check it out below: