Time lapse video of the annual Perseid Meteor shower shows a glimpse of what stargazers witnessed when the meteor shower peaked from Thursday night to Friday morning.
The video captures the view from Southern California, and shows "shooting stars" streaking the night sky.
In perfect conditions, stargazers are able to see 60 to 90 “shooting stars” per hour during the meteor shower.
Local news from across Southern California
And you can thank the planet Jupiter. Every twelve years Jupiter passes through the comet's orbit. This crossing occurred in 2014. The giant planet's gravity moved the particles toward the Earth and on Thursday night, those particles arrived in Europe. Since it was daytime in the United States at that time, the West Coast missed out on enhanced activity. The East Coast of the U.S. got a little better show than in past years.
The particles, or meteors, are about the size, shape and color of Grape Nuts cereal flakes. These tiny pieces of debris, known as Perseids, enter Earth's atmosphere at 37 miles per second, creating a hot streak of superheated air that is visible from the ground as a streak of light. They burn up, never reaching the surface of the Earth.
The Perseids get their name because the meteor showers "radiant," the perspective point of origin, is the constellation Perseus.
Though some may mistakenly call them "shooting stars," they are actually bits of rubble that were shed in 1479 by the Comet Swift-Tuttle. This stream of Perseids orbit the sun and every August the Earth passes through the stream.