2017 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

2017 Perseids CompositeThis is a composite image of 212 Perseid meteors collected over five evenings from sunset on August 10 to sunrise on August 15. 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 1 am and 5 am, 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 of the meteors in this composite are Perseids or sporadics (and most of the sporadics are also Perseids that were not unambiguously identified as such). Several showers are currently active (Alpha Capricornids, Southern Delta Aquarids, Kappa Cygnids), but meteors from these are not shown.

The southwest monsoon pattern is currently active. There were thunderstorms until after midnight, which reduced the number of meteors captured. The Moon interfered heavily this year, but has been digitally removed from the composite.

Perseid Frequency

2017 Perseid Distribution

This graph plots the distribution of 105 meteors brighter than magnitude 2 on the peak evening.


© Copyright 2017, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.