Perseid Meteor Shower 2017 Not Brightest Meteor Shower In History: NASA
Most sky watchers are already looking forward to the upcoming Perseid meteor shower display, which is expected to peak on Aug. 12, especially since reports of it being "the brightest shower in recorded human history" have surfaced, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration begs to disagree.
According to NASA, not only will the 2017 Perseids be few and far in between, but the moon will also outshine it to a point where not all of them can be seen.
In a statement released by Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, the space agency cleared up rumors about the 2017 Perseids and explained why sky watchers should not expect too much this year.
"We wish this were true ... but no such thing is going to happen," Cooke said.
What To Expect From The 2017 Perseids
NASA already burst sky watchers' bubbles but at least the Perseid meteor shower will still be amazing, right? Wrong.
This is because the waning moon will still be at around 80 percent of its full brightness so it will hinder our view of the celestial display.
"This is not much better than a full moon and will certainly pose a challenge in viewing the Perseids this year," the International Meteor Organisation says.
The result is the same even if 2017's Perseid shower is supposed to shoot more than the average 80 to 100 meteors per hour.
"This year, we are expecting enhanced rates of about 150 per hour or so, but the increased number will be cancelled out by the bright Moon, the light of which will wash out the fainter Perseids," Cooke said.
IMO says that the 2018 Perseid meteor shower might give sky watchers a better view since it should be around the time when the moon is a thin crescent but, of course, there are still clouds and weather conditions to account for.
Will The Rumor Ever Be True?
Sadly, the historical facts point to "No."
According to Cooke, the Perseids have never really reached storm levels, and the most meteors it has showered the Earth with so far was about 300 meteors per hour.
If sky watchers really want to see a great display, they should watch the Leonid meteor shower instead since Leonids can easily light up the sky with numbers 10 times greater than that of Perseids.
Cooke also said that the record for the brightest meteor shower in recorded human history also belongs to the Leonids, which lit up the sky in 1833 to a point where people thought it was the end of the world.
"I think many meteor researchers would give that award to the 1833 Leonids, which had rates of tens of thousands, perhaps even 100,000, meteors per hour ... Now, THAT's a meteor shower," Cooke said.
He added that most, if not all, who study meteors dream of experiencing something similar to the 1833 Leonids. However, one thing is for sure: the 2017 Perseid meteor shower will not bring any of them closer to that dream.