Subject: Perseid Comet Shower Peaks Tomorrow
From: Alex Kemp
Date: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 17:20:27 +0100
To: Oliver Kemp, Micaela Kemp, Liisa Kemp, Davin Kemp

Yes, it's the glorious 12th tomorrow and, for the first time since 2007, the Moon will NOT make it difficult to see the Perseids (new moon is Aug 14). As long as the skies are clear, the dark nights of today, tomorrow or the day after (Thu 14) should reveal a meteor every minute throughout the night.

The Glorious Twelfth for many Brits means “the start of the grouse season” because they like slaughtering wildlife, but we know better. The night of the 12 August is when the annual Perseid meteor shower reaches it's peak.

The Perseids are a shower of meteors that re-occur every year at the same time (between 9 and 14 August); they get their name because the place in the sky where they (mostly) seem to come from lies within the constellation Perseus. The period around midnight often sees grazing impacts and/or fireballs, whilst the pre-dawn often has the maximum intensity of meteors.

Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle is ultimately responsible for these meteors (orbital period 133 years). Dust from the comet has spread out all along it's orbit & the Earth intersects that orbit each year at the same time. The comet is 26km in diameter & has a relative velocity with the earth of 60 km/second. The comet has been described as “the single most dangerous object known to humanity”, although current calculations suggest a very stable orbit & that there should be zero problems up to Sep 15 4479 at least.

Alex Kemp