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When, where and how to see them
August 11-13, 2017 -- One of the most stunning events in the stargazer’s calendar in the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid Meteor Shower, peaks on the night of August 12-13, when the Earth passes through the densest, dustiest path of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Comet Swift–Tuttle orbits the sun every 133 years. Each year in August the Earth passes through a cloud of debris from the comet - bits of ice and dust most over 1,000 years old. The Perseid meteor shower is produced when debris from the comet enters the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.
* A comet is an object in space with a nucleus of ice and dust.
* An asteroid is a large rocky body in space that orbits around the Sun.
* Meteoroids are smaller rocks or particles in orbit around the Sun.
* A meteoroid is called a meteor when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporises, becoming visible as a shooting star.
* The debris of Swift–Tuttle are about the size of a grain of sand, or smaller. The bright blue, green or yellow colours seen as they burn is due to the metallic elements present in the minerals of the particles.
* If a small asteroid or large meteoroid survives its passage through the atmosphere and lands on the Earth’s surface, it is then called a meteorite.