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Perseid Meteor Shower Thrills Stargazers Despite Bright Moon

Photographers managed to capture images of shooting stars despite nearly full moon
Perseid meteor
Perseid meteor


Astrophotographer Jodi Totten sent in a photo of a Perseid meteor taken in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on Aug. 13, 2014.
Credit: Jodi Totten

Intrepid photographers in dark parts of the world managed to capture some stunning photos of the Perseid meteor shower as it hit its peak, despite the bright light of a nearly full moon.

The Perseids peaked Tuesday night (Aug. 12) and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Though the bright moon probably did interfere with some observers' view of the shower, NASA cameras still caught sight of brilliant meteors streaking through the sky. The shower hit its peak rate over the eastern United States at about 3 a.m. EDT, according to NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office leader Bill Cooke.

"Despite the Supermoon [which rose on Aug. 10], our camera network here in the [southeast] recorded over 100 Perseids brighter than Mars last night," Cooke told Space.com via email. A NASA camera at the Tellus Science Museum in Georgia captured two Perseid meteors streaking through the sky at the same time, Cooke added. [See more photos of the 2014 Perseid meteor shower]

Skywatcher Cheryl Welch snapped a photo of a bright meteor streaking across the sky about Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Venus shines right above the horizon at the bottom of the photo. "This is one of the brightest I've seen," Welch said of the meteor in an email to Space.com. "The trail stayed in the sky for at least 5 seconds." 

A Perseid meteor streaks over Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in this August 13, 2014 photo by Cheryl Welch Credit: Cheryl Welch.


Stargazers also caught sight of the meteor shower from outside the United States. Photographer Stojan Stojanovski managed to capture an amazing image of a Perseid meteor streaking through a star-speckled sky above green mountains in Macedonia.

The Perseid meteor shower graces night skies around the world every year in mid-August when Earth passes through the cloud of ice and dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. Astronomers Horace Tuttle and Lewis Swift first spotted the comet in 1862, and it takes 133 years to make a full orbit of the sun.

"The [Perseid] meteors have been watched for almost 2,000 years," Slooh Community Observatory astronomer Bob Berman said during a Slooh meteor shower webcast Wednesday. "We have written records of the Chinese seeing them in the first few dozen years after the year 0, and they've been enjoyed ever since."

This year, even Google celebrated the celestial fireworks display with a Perseid meteor shower Google doodle showcasing amazing photos of past Perseid meteors.
 

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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