Skywatchers in Bulgaria will be able to enjoy one of the summer night sky’s most spectacular annual displays as the 2017 Perseid meteor showers peak on August 12.
Unlike last year’s outburst, which saw double the usual amount of streaking meteors, visibility this year will be hampered by a bright moon, which will be waning but still three-quarters full.
While the Perseid meteor shower is best viewed from a spot away from the bright city lights, residents of Sofia and western Bulgaria might be further hindered by the prospect of cloudy skies. A better chance of spotting the shooting stars in western and southern Bulgaria would be on August 11, when the weather forecast predicts no cloud cover.
At Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, both Varna and Bourgas are facing clear sky forecasts on both on Friday and Saturday.
The Perseid meteor shower makes an impressive lights show in the skies over the northern hemisphere every year in August.
With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long “wakes” of light and colour behind them as they streak through the Earth’s atmosphere. The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen each hour) and occurs with warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view the shower.
The Perseids have been observed for at least two millennia and are made up of bits of dust and ice trailing the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years, according to NASA. Their name derives from the fact that they appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus.
(Photo of Perseid meteor as seen from the International Space Station, by NASA)