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Perseid meteor shower puts on a show [Video]

August 12, 2012 | 10:28 am

Stargazers around California have been looking to the skies the last two nights for views of the Perseid meteor shower.

People flocked to areas away from city lights, such as Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino Mountains, for a look.

YouTube user criticalnet shot the view above near Big Bear on Saturday.

The views peaked Sunday morning. The Times' Science Now blog described the shower this way:

The shower gets its name because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus, but the stars have nothing to do with it. Meteors are actually fine bits of dust that originate within our solar system. Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the dust belts. The Perseid meteor shower is caused by remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which passed close to Earth in 1992, but won't approach closely again until 2125. The shower was particularly abundant in the years surrounding the comet's last close approach, but enough dust remains behind to give a good show.

Most of the observed meteors are sand-sized grains of dust, not large rocks. As they enter Earth's atmosphere at 134,000 mph, they compress air, creating a white-hot shock wave, which is visible from the ground.


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