The annual Perseid meteor shower peaked Wednesday night into Thursday morning, sending hundreds of meteors streaking majestically through the sky.
“Best meteor shower in years!” exclaimed photographer and avid stargazer Chris Bakley, of Cape May, N.J.
Bill Cooke, of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office at Marshall Space Flight Center, said it was “a very good night for meteor watchers.” He told CBS News that while the rate of meteors was about average for the Perseid shower, “the lack of a moon and nice clear skies turned a good display into a great one.”
“We have received many enthusiastic eyewitness reports,” he said.”There were lots of bright meteors, some of which were described as being yellow in color.”
NASA’s meteor camera at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., detected hundreds of Perseid meteors. This composite photo shows 120 meteors brighter than the planet Mars:
The Perseid meteor shower takes place each year from around July 17 to Aug. 24, as the Earth moves through the stream of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. The shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, from which it appears to radiate.
It is a perennial favorite for being reliably visible with the naked eye. Though this year’s event has already passed its peak, Cooke said people will be able to see meteors into next week — perhaps “a handful” a night.
“Given what we saw last night,” he said, “it might be worth a look up before sun-up early tomorrow morning.”