Photos: Perseid Meteor Shower will be Active Until Aug. 24 (PHOTOS)
By IB Times Staff Reporter | Aug 16, 2011 02:44 PM EDT
Skywatchers worldwide enjoyed the annual Perseid meteor shower Friday night and Saturday morning despite the light of the full moon, which is called 'Grain Moon' or 'Green Corn Moon' for this month.
The International Meteor Organization recorded an average of 30 shooting stars an hour Friday morning, rising to 45 to 60 by Friday night and Saturday morning.
NASA astronaut Ron Garan was able to take a picture that could be in the running for most amazing shot of all time. He was able to capture a shooting star in all its blazing glory while orbiting above the meteor.
"What a 'Shooting Star' looks like #FromSpace Taken yesterday during Perseids Meteor Shower..." Garan said on Sunday while aboard the International Space Station. He made the update to his Twitter account as he neared the end of his six-month tour in the ISS. The photo gives viewers the rare chance to see a meteor as it falls into the atmosphere.
The meteor shower, which is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle and observed for about 2000 years, peaked on the night of Friday and Saturday. Even if you missed out the shower peaking, the Perseids will be active till August 24, where you can glimpse at least 5-10 meteors per hour.
The meteors come from Earth's orbit, coinciding with a cloud of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. The debris, consisting of ice and dust, burn up Earth's atmosphere and create streaks of light.
Most of the debris Earth will encounter in 2011 is more than r 1,000 years old. The meteors enter Earth's atmosphere at about roughly 133,200 mph, and most of them are the size of sand grains, according to space.com. Some are as big as peas or marbles, and almost none hits the ground.
Take a glimpse of the meteor shower captured between Friday and Saturday:
NASA astronaut Ron Garan posted a photo via Twitter from the window of the International Space Station (ISS) depicting a shooting star from the 2011 Perseids Meteor Shower.Source: Ron Garan/NASA Date:08/15/2011
NASA meteor scientist Bill Cooke posted this image of the International Space Station streaking above Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 12, 2011 during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower of 2011.Source: NASA via Bill Cooke Date:08/15/2011
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over over El Torcal nature park reserve in Antequera.Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over over El Torcal nature park reserve in AntequeraSource: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over the village of KukliciSource: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
A man with binoculars observes the moon during the Perseid meteor shower in the night sky over over El TorcalSource: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
Perseids Meteor Shower 2011Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky in Tecate in Baja California.Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, southern England.Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
People gather to try and spot meteors from the Perseid shower in the Los Padres National Forest in Frazier Park, California.Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011
Researchers have recently discovered a rare mineral that used to be found only from moon rocks and lunar meteorites in at least six sites in Western Australia.Source: Reuters / Vittorio Hernandez Date:01/06/2012
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over El Torcal nature park reserve in the southern Spanish town of Antequera, near Malaga.Source: Reuters Date:08/15/2011