What the Perseid Meteor Shower Looks Like from Space

perseif615.jpg

Ron Garan, ISS Expedition 28 Crew, NASA

For the past week, the Perseid Meteor Shower has been crescendoing, and this weekend it will hit its peak. Visible anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere after 11pm, the dusty exhaust of the comet Swift-Tuttle will dance most vividly in the hours just before dawn. Jupiter, Venus, a crescent moon and the bright star Aldebaran will all shine brightest then too, in a moment of astronomical convergence.

The sky might be prettiest Monday night, though. Says NASA's official viewing guide:

On August 13th, with the shower just beginning to wane, the planets put on their best show yet: The 17% crescent moon will pass less than 3 degrees from Venus as Jupiter hovers overhead. Sky watchers say there's nothing prettier than a close encounter between the slender crescent Moon and Venus--nothing, that is, except for the crescent Moon, Venus and a flurry of Perseids.

But it's unlikely to be any prettier than what's above. Last year, aboard the International Space Station, astronuat Ron Garan snapped the above picture of the Perseids. The sole meteor here burns near the center of the picture, to the left of the array of solar power cells, just beneath the green airglow. The star Arcturus shines just above it.

Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In