UW-Madison: Meteor shower in August delight

CONTACT: Jim Lattis, [email protected]

MADISON – The ongoing Perseid meteor shower will peak tonight (August 12) but the sky show will persist for a week or so, says Jim Lattis, director of Space Place at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“The Perseids are so reliably good, and they come during August, rather than in the middle of January. This year, we are very close to a new moon, so we will have dark skies, though we need clear skies as well.”

The Perseids, named because they appear to come from the constellation Perseus, are composed of fragments of comet Swift-Tuttle, which hit the atmosphere at about 132,000 miles per hour.

Lattis expects the light show to taper off over the next week, “So if you miss the exact peak, it’s not a huge deal. Midnight to dawn is the best time to watch the Perseids, which will come from the north or northeast.”