If you didn’t get up early this morning to watch, late-night tonight will still be a good opportunity to catch sight of some shooting stars. Every year around this time, the Earth hurtles through the debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle, resulting in the so-called Perseid meteor shower. The bits of dust strewn by the passing comet (which is now past the orbit of Uranus, according to NASA) burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, traveling at about 132,000 miles (212,433 kilometers) per hour. These glowing streaks often originate in the direction of the constellation Perseus, hence the shower’s name.
In case you miss this meteoric event as it fizzles out in a few days, the next best time to start looking up for shooting stars will be on November 17, when our planet passes through the neighborhood of the Leonids.
Perhaps someday humankind will get the chance to watch meteor showers from Mars.
Image Credit: Mila Zinkova