A summer milestone is the Perseid meteor shower.
We hit our summer stride in early August only to smack into “Back to School” sales flyers or spy a first crimson swamp maple leaf.
A summer milestone that signals summer is progressing all-too-fast is the annual Perseid meteor shower. The event is named for the constellation “Perseus" (the Hero) where the August meteors appear to originate. Perseus rises in the northeast sky by 11 p.m. in mid-August.
Meteor showers result when Earth's atmosphere is bombarded by what are often called "shooting stars." The Perseids meteor shower results from debris left by the comet “Swift-Tuttle.” As the comet orbited the Sun, it shed icy dust in its wake. The "shooting stars" appear when tiny bits of that cosmic debris crash and burn high in Earth's upper atmosphere.
Traveling at thousands of miles per hour, meteors ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 30 to 80 miles above the ground. Most are destroyed but a rare few that survive to hit the ground are called meteorites.
The Perseid meteors are visible for about a week depending on weather and geography. They are best visible in the Northern hemisphere. For Europe and North America, the meteor shower peaks August 12th & 13th with more than 50 meteors per hour. The Perseids are widely considered the very best annual meteor shower.
Good news for rural New Hampshire is it's best to watch meteor showers somewhere dark, away from city light pollution. The bad news is that a full moon on August 13th this year will dim the display by obscuring all but the very brightest meteors.