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Jupiter revving up Perseid meteor shower

Flickr user mLu.fotos / Flickr
A compilation shot from last year’s Perseid meteor shower.";

Time to plan your Perseid party!

The annual meteor show we enjoy each August is expected to be extra special this year.

Mary Stewart Adams, program director at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmett County, joined us to talk about the celestial event.

Adams told us there are two reasons for the extra excitement for this year’s shower. First, she said that there seems to be some extra fuss around this year’s Perseid’s. Adams told us a lot of that is thanks to what she calls “internet acceleration,” explaining that “the things that are happening in the sky are really popular topics on all social media.”

She also told us that we’ll have Jupiter to thank for an extra spectacular shower this year.

“This year, the planet Jupiter has been, at least according to the astronomers, pushing on the debris stream that comes from the Comet Swift-Tuttle, and that comet is the parent of this meteor shower,” Adams said. “When Jupiter pushes on it, it can increase the number of meteors that we see falling through our sky because it’s closer [to Earth].”

Adams said astronomers are predicting we’ll see almost 200 meteors an hour at the shower’s peak, but she reminded us that “predicting celestial phenomena is even harder than predicting the weather.”

GUEST Mary Stewart Adams is program director at Headlands International Dark Sky Park. She tweets @starsnstories.

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