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Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseids

The Perseid Meteor Shower 2015

Perseids IMO Code: PER

[IMO:- International Meteor Organization]


Radiant: constellation Perseus

Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle


Normal limits activity: 13 July – 26 August

Peak Activity 2015: 13  August: 06:00 GMT/UT (07:00 BST)


Viewing conditions 2015: favourable (due to New Moon, 14 August)


Perseids Activity Meteor Count: Predicted:

Up to 80 plus meteors per hour.


Persieds Meteor Velocity: 37 miles per second (59 km/s)  [133,200 mph] [(214,400 km/h]




Perseid Meteor Shower: August Meteor Shower

Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle


Comet Swift–Tuttle [109P/Swift–Tuttle] is a periodic comet with an orbital period of 133 years .


Comet Swift-Tuttle has an eccentric orbit, with an aphelion (farthest distance from Sun) outside the orbit of Pluto, and a perihelion (closest to Sun) inside Earth’s orbit.



What reason is it that causes the Perseids Meteor Shower?  


When comet Swift-Turtle approaches perihelion with the Sun, the comet is heated and a percentage of the comet is vaporised, in addition fragments are scattered, leaving a wake of its path travelled (rather like the contrails of an aeroplane or ship at sea) and it is this path that Earth crosses every August which is the cause of the Perseid annual meteor shower.




Click image of comet Turtle-Swift to enlarge.


Comet, 109P/Swift-Tuttle, mage credit: national aeronautics and space administration (NASA)


Viewing tips the perseids meteor shower:


  • Perseids is favourable to Northern Hemisphere observers.


  • Perseids feature fast, bright meteors that frequently leave streaks.

  • Life of Perseid trains / streaks; a life of a few seconds.


  • Radiant: constellation Perseus.

  • Meteors appear from the north-east region of the sky.


  • Conditions are favourable due to New Moon (14 August) therefore dark skies.

  • Best viewed away from city lights or light-polluted area


  • Meteors streak across the sky, and if traced back, originate from the direction of the northern region of the Constellation of Perseus.

  • Best viewing times: after midnight to early hours before dawn.


  • There is no  need to look in the direction of the radiant, the Persieds meteors can appear in many places across the sky.

  • It takes time for the eyes to adapt to darkness, be patient, your patience may be rewarded.


  •  Planetary conditions are favourable for observing the Perseids Meteor shower due to the phase of a New Moon, however local weather and cloud conditions may affect viewing of the Perseid meteors.  


  • If you can spend time in the garden or other local spot (either near or far from home) we wish you success in your observations.


Enlarge diagram of the Perseids by clicking image.

Diagram of the Perseids by using program  Stellarium


This little fella is comet Swift Turtle [109P/Swift–Tuttle] which in its elongated 133 year orbit of the Solar System leaves a trail of fine debris in its wake; it is this path of fine debris which passes through every late July early August that brings us the Perseids Meteor Shower.