When are the meteor showers, and what causes them

Meteor showerPeak date
QuadrantidsJanuary 3, 2013
LyridsApril 22, 2013
Eta AquaridsMay 5, 2013
Delta AquaridsJuly 29, 2013
PerseidsAugust 12, 2013
OrionidsOctober 21, 2013
LeonidsNovember 17, 2013
GeminidsDecember 14, 2013

What are they?

Meteors are rocks that fall from space. There are a lot of them in space. And a lot of them are pulled into the earth by gravity.

Most meteors burn up in our atmosphere and never reach land. They can be seen as streaks of light zooming across the sky for a split second, then fading away.

When do meteor showers come?

At certain times of the year, these meteors come in much greater numbers. That happens when the Earth's orbit passes through a cloud of rock material. Usually, during these meteor showers, they come at a frequency of about 1 meteor per minute. But they can be pretty unpredictable. In 1803, a shower with hundreds of shooting stars per minute made quite a display and brought a lot of panic. People thought it was the end of the world.

There are two major meteor showers during the year, Perseids and Leonids.

Perseids - Late July, August

Beginning in the late July and peaking around August 12th each year, the earth passes through the remains of the tail of a comet called Comet Swift-Tuttle. Since these meteors appear to move away from the constellation Perseus, they are called Perseids.

Leonids mid-November

In mid-November each year, our earth passes through the remains of the tail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. These remains are a bunch of rocks floating in that area.

These meteors are called Leonids, because they appear to move away from the constellation Leo.

Lyrids - April

Another meteor shower occurs in April. It's called the Lyrid meteor shower. They are called that way because they appear to stream from a bright star Vega, in the constellation Lyra. But the true source of the showers is comet Thatcher.

Other minor meteor showers include: Quadrantids, Eta Aquarids, Delta Aquarids, Orionids, and Geminids.

Sources:

DeYoung, Donald B. Astronomy and the Bible: Questions and Answers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989. Print.

http://www.spaceweather.com/meteors/lyrids/lyrids.html

http://www.spacedex.com/

Image source: NASA



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