When most stargazers gave up on the 2021 Perseids after the peak of August 12th, on the morning of Saturday, August 14, the Perseid meteor shower fired off an unexpected outburst of meteors between 1 to 4 AM. Reports of the outburst came from the Cedar Amateur Astronomers of Iowa recording almost 3000 meteors.

The expected peak of the Perseids was a couple of days before this. Rates are normally 50% lower each night after peak gazing but these rates are two to three times more than was seen during the expected maximum on the night of August 12th.

Why the outburst?  Most likely the result of a filament of comet debris produced by comet 109P/Swift–Tuttle. The Perseid Filament is a ribbon of dust inside the broader Perseid debris zone, according to spaceweather.com.

Perseid meteors usually start streaking the sky around mid-July and always peak during the second week of August.

The Perseids burn up about 60 miles above the Earth’s surface and hail from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth passes through the comet’s trail after the first week of August and the bits and pieces from the comet hit our atmosphere at around 130,000 miles per hour.

There were also reports of a fireball streaking across the sky on August 14th. It was mainly witnessed by viewers east of the Mississippi River, with reports from Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and even Canada. 147 reports of this fireball were sent to fireballs.imo.net.

For more about the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, tap HERE.

 

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