Over the next few weeks, peaking on the night of August 11th and before dawn on August 12th, you might get your chance to wish upon a shooting star

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The Perseids meteor shower


Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

Over the next few weeks, peaking on the night of August 11th and before dawn on August 12th, you might get your chance to wish upon a shooting star—thanks to the annual Perseids meteor shower.

The meteors originate from the debris field left over from the Swift-Tuttle Comet. Every year, from June to August, Earth passes through the comet’s trail of debris. The rocks and dust that make up this trail of debris become meteors as they pass through and disintegrate in the Earth’s atmosphere, which we then see as impressive flashes of light. The image below explains the difference between a comet, a meteor, a meteorite and a fireball.

Just before dawn, when we can often see the most meteors, the constellation Perseus is at its highest point in the sky. The Perseids therefore take their name from the constellation since they appear to originate from it.