2013 Perseid Shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower occurs when debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle intercepts the Earth at a high velocity (59 km/s, 133,000 mph). This debris is somewhat diffuse, so we see activity for many days on either side of the peak. Like most meteor showers, this is named for the constellation its members appear to originate in: Perseus.

Shower Summary

2013 Perseid CompositeThis is a composite image of 211 meteors collected between sunset on August 11 and sunrise on August 14 (85 on 11/12 August, 80 on 12/13 August, 46 on 13/14 August). Since the images were collected over many hours, the radiant of the shower is not in a fixed location. However, because most of the meteors occurred between 1am and 5am, and because the radiant's high declination means it doesn't move fast, most of the meteors appear to point back to the same general area of the sky - just above the left center of the image. Note also that meteors farther from the radiant tend to make longer trails, since they have a smaller component of their velocity towards the camera.

All 211 of the meteors in this composite are Perseids. Several showers are currently active (Alpha Capricornids, Southern Delta Aquarids, Kappa Cygnids), but meteors from these are not shown.

The southwest monsoon pattern generally affects weather in Colorado during August, and this year it is quite strong. There were scattered clouds and haze throughout the night, which reduced the number of meteors captured. The Moon did not introduce any interference this year.

Long string-like images are stars or planets captured as they traveled across the sky over many hours. Bright star trails are evident for Capella, Aldebaran, Deneb, Vega, and Altair.

Selected Fireball Videos

Perseid Frequency

2013 Perseid Distribution, Daily

This graph plots the distribution of meteors during the two peak evenings.


© Copyright 2013, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.