The Perseids is a prolific meteor shower visible from mid-July each year, that stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift–Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 133-year orbit. The meteors were named Perseids because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus.
Although they can be seen all across the sky, they are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere. The peak in activity is between August 9th to 14th. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. Most Perseids burn up in the atmosphere while at heights above 80km.
The earliest record of Perseid activity comes from the Chinese annals, where it is said that in 36 AD “more than 100 meteors flew thither in the morning.” Numerous references appear in Chinese, Japanese and Korean records throughout the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th centuries.
Perseids seen in Darbid and Khoravand. Darbid is a village in Yazd Province, 40km from the city of Yazd. Khoravand is a village in Markazi Province, 70km from Arak.
In Europe, the first known observation is from the year 811 and the first known written record is from “Introduction a la Philosophie naturelle” by Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1762, where he states that the increased August meteor activity is a recurring event. In 1835, Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet identified the shower as emanating from the constellation Perseus. In 1866, after the perihelion passage of Swift-Tuttle in 1862, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli discovered the link between meteor showers and comets.
The Perseids is the most famous of all meteor showers. Due to its summertime appearance, it tends to provide the majority of meteors seen by non-astronomy enthusiasts.