The night sky is being lit up by fireballs and meteors as part of the Perseids meteor shower. Looking east on Wednesday night and Thursday morning is predicted to give the best viewing.
The night sky is being lit up by fireballs and meteors as part of the Perseids meteor shower. Looking east on Wednesday night and Thursday morning is predicted to give the best viewing. John Schumack

Fireballs in the sky thanks to meteor shower

IF YOU'RE the type that makes a wish each time you see a shooting star, you should be prepared this week to have a long list of wishes.

Now is the time to look twards the night sky according to astronomer Dave Reneke because the Perseids meteor shower is making another appearance and he believes this series of showers could be pretty spectacular.

"People are already seeing large fireballs common with this shower, and you could see them too," Mr Reneke said.  

"Meteor showers happen when you get lots of them at one time."

He suggests sky watchers look towards the east, estimating about a dozen or so fireballs or meteors an hour.

The writer and publicist for Australian Science Magazine said the best night for viewing will be Wednesday night until early on Thursday morning. He added the best time for viewing while the showers take place this week is from around midnight until an hour before sunrise.

"Meteor showers originate from leftover fragments of comets and asteroids," he said.

"Comets that travel through the Sun leave dust behind, and when the Earth passes through that debris, those remnants clash with the atmosphere, disintegrate, and generate colourful, sparkling streaks."

Space rocks, or meteorites, burn - and prompt plenty of calls to police, emergency services and radio stations from people thinking they were distress flares being shot into the sky or returning space junk that might hit their house.

"The rocks often appear as green lights as they burn heading towards earth," he said.

"They come in at between 30 and 60 kilometres a second."  



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