Perseids delight photographers despite the supermoon (PHOTOS)

August 16, 2014

The 2007 Perseids meteor shower was one of the more intense events in recent memory. (NASA)

Despite last weekend’s supermoon, the brightest and largest moon of 2014, sky-watching photographers came out winning after the the peak of the Perseids meteor shower.

According to the American Meteor Society, the Perseids tend to be the most popular meteor shower of the year because they happen in the summer, when the weather is prime for star gazing. From dark rural locations, 50 to 75 meteors per hour can be seen in a typical year.

These meteors appear to originate in the sky from the Perseus constellation. The particles themselves, which are often no larger than a grain of sand, are dust and debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. As the Earth orbits the sun, it passes through the comet’s debris trail, and the dust incinerates in Earth’s atmosphere, which is what creates the shooting stars we see.

Although the Perseids reached their peak earlier this week, they’ve been active since mid July. According to the International Meteor Organization, 5 to 10 shooting stars were occurring each hour between July 13 and July 30.


A Perseid captured during the full moon on August 11, 2014. “Yes, it is possible to get Perseid meteors in spite of the full moon,” Photographer Jeff Sullivan writes on his Flickr page. “This one was at 4:19 am, right next to the North Star, Polaris (the bright star in the middle of the right side).” (Jeff Sullivan via Flickr)
A bright Perseid fireball captured through a dewey lens on August 13, 2014. (Wendy Clark via Flickr)
A bright Perseid fireball captured through a dewy lens on August 13, 2014 in Braintree, Essex, England. Remnants from Hurricane Bertha nearly washed out photographer Wendy Clark’s chances for a good shot. “I think we only had two clear nights on 11th and 12th, since then it’s been the remnants of Bertha and the odd torrential summer downpour,” Clark wrote in a Flickr message.  (Wendy Clark via Flickr)

A Perseids meteor streaking through the Milky Way near the Andromeda Galaxy. Photographer Jack Swinden also posted a zoomed in version of this shooting star. (Jack Swinden via Flickr)

A perseid meteor captured at 2:30 a.m. on August 3, 2014 from Braintree, Essex, England. (Wendy Clark via Flickr)

A single Perseid on August 3, 2014. (Phil Lowe via Flickr)

A composite of Perseids captured on the night of August 12-13, 2014 in Brighton, East Sussex, U.K. (Sumitra Sri Bhashyam via Flickr)

A Perseid streaks toward the horizon on July 27, 2014. “This one was caught to the northeast while out looking for Delta Aquarids and Piscis Austranids,” Sullivan writes. (Jeff Sullivan via Flicker)

Perseid meteors taken on July 26, 2014 in Fort Richardson State Park near Jacksboro, Texas. (Jack Swinden via Flickr)

A Perseid streaks over the Sirius B dome at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisc. on August 12, 2014.(Sayner Skies via Flickr)

A Perseid captured on July 30, 2014 near Pontevedra in Galiza, in northwest Spain. (Antonia Costa via Flickr)

Possible Perseid meteors over St. Bauzille de Putios in southern France on July 31, 2014. (Roger Hutchinson via Flickr)

And finally, a possible Perseid from the International Space Station?

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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