Get a Sneak Peek at Perseid Meteors in This NASA Video

Perseid Meteor Over Ohio, Aug. 11, 2016
A Perseid meteor captured on Aug. 11, 2016 by a NASA camera in northern Ohio. (Image credit: NASA All Sky Fireball Network)

A new NASA video gives viewers a taste of the famous Perseid meteor shower, which peaks overnight tonight (Aug. 11 to Aug. 12).

The newly released Perseid video shows meteors captured from July 26 through today by NASA's All Sky Fireball Network, a system of 15 cameras scattered throughout the country.

The Perseid shower occurs every year from mid-July through late August. It results when Earth plows through the dust and other debris shed over the eons by the 16-mile-wide (26 kilometers) Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

The Perseids are perhaps the most reliably spectacular of all the annual meteor showers, and the sky show should be especially good this year. Jupiter's gravity has herded the comet debris into an unusually dense clump, and the result should be an "outburst" of up to 200 meteors or so per hour during tonight's peak, NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke has said. (The Perseids' usual peak hovers around 80 meteors per hour.)

The Perseids received their name because the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus. But don't worry too much about finding that particular star pattern; the shooting stars will appear across the night sky. The best viewing will come after midnight in your location.

If clouds or bright city lights scuttle your observing plans, you can always watch the Perseid peak online. The Slooh Community Observatory will air a 4-hour webcast tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT on Aug. 12). The show, which you can watch directly via Slooh or here at, will feature live shots of Perseid meteors from observatories in four different countries.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing photo of this year's Perseid meteor shower that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.