The Perseid meteor shower 2012 has proved to be a treat for stargazers as dark and clear skies offered a delightful light show at night (video).
The meteor shower was observed by stargazers and scientists in the weekend and photographers across the globe caught scintillating pictures of the annual celestial event.
The shower peaked in the early hours of the morning this Sunday and many stargazers reported seeing the shower, as compared to previous years.
In an email to SPACE.com, strargazer Jocelyn Jones wrote, “We saw some shooting stars in The Hague, Holland. Super cool!”
Looking up from the ground, the Perseid shower seems to originate from the Perseus constellation, so it has been named Perseids. Early reports of the meteor shower go back 2,000 years. Every year the shower occurs sometime in July and August. During this time the earth passes through a trail of dust and ice from the comet Swift-Tuttle, thus witnessing the meteor shower as the duty hits into Earth’s atmosphere at more than 130,000 miles per hour and burns up.
Many stargazers were elated to catch up with a perfect light show, especially in Holland where the weather conditions were just apt. In the previous years spectators would often be disappointed when they could not catch much of the show, or saw much less than what was promised in the reports. Some stargazers even sent in some stunning pictures that they managed to click of the shower.
In an email, stargazer Senin wrote, “It was an almost perfect night for Perseids observations, with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s. It was a night anyone could stay out for hours, and even sleep outside.”
Senin also sent in pictures that shows a Perseid visible over the Los Angeles National Forest just north of Castaic. Since Senin used long exposure time, the images sent in by him show the meteor brighter than they actually appeared to the naked eye. Senin was one of a group of 50 stargazers organized by the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers to watch the perseids. Senin counted at least 20 bright Perseids during the night.
Senin said, “In the beginning everyone was cheering and ‘oooo’-ing for each meteor they saw, but there were so many after a while people stopped the oooos for the faint and short ones.”
Many more reports of the Perseids being seen from more remote locales arrived.
In the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, veteran astrophotographer Roberto Porto was anxous lest his nightly vigil be marred by a Calima. A Calima is an island dust storm that would have made his efforts a big disappointment. However, a clear night gave him ample opportunity to capture the show.
He said, “The dark sky of Mount Teide National Park gave [us] a few hours ago this beautiful image: a bright Perseid meteor over the Arch known as the Zapata da la Reina (Queen’s Show) and the Milky Way.”
An advisory from NASA was issued regarding the showers, “For those who missed the shower on the night of Aug. 11-12, you can still see Perseids on the night of Aug. 12-13. The rates will be lower, approximately 40 per hour.”
The next meteor shower to catch the attention of stargazers would be the Orionid meteor shower that would peak on Oct. 21.