Perseid meteor shower lights up the sky

Starting on Monday, Aug. 12, Perseid meteors will streak across the summer sky for a couple of nights, offering casual stargazers and serious nighttime photographers a chance to capture a glimpse of the annual meteor shower.

The Perseids appear when the Earth passes through debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. The comet’s dust smashes into our planet’s atmosphere at 132,000 mph, says NASA, flecking the sky with as many as 100 meteors an hour. The prime viewing time will occur between 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. local time.

The Perseids — named for the constellation Perseus, from which the meteors seem to emerge — also offer space geeks another bonus: a “fireball” meteor that NASA says can be as bright as Venus. Data collected and studied this year by the space agency says the Perseids produce more “fireball” meteors than any other shower.

If you’re photographing the Perseids, Yahoo News and Flickr are interested in showcasing your work. Upload your photos to Flickr and submit them to Yahoo News’ Your Photos group. We’ll select some of the best for a future slideshow. — Tim Skillern

In this gallery, we’ve showcased some of the best Flickr photography of the Perseids from past showers.

Photos are by European Southern Observatory, Mulling it Over, betwo23, pedrog78, Greg Francke, the real Kam75, tobyharriman, C. Fredrickson Photography, hiro, Ian Alexander Norman, Isaac Baquero Pérez, ∙tlc∙, Thunderbolt_TW, David Kingham, Dave Renwald and Michael Menefee.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Fort Photo) Photographer Michael Menfee created this composite image — made from 324 shots of 25 seconds each — in August 2012, near Copperton, Wyo. Another image was taken at a longer shutter speed, he writes, for foreground lighting from the moonlight. “When I saw how clearly the Milky Way was rendering to the west, I couldn't resist pointing one camera away from the meteor shower radiant to test my luck. With over 27 meteors, my luck was very good!” he writes.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Thunderbolt_TW) Photographer Thunderbolt_TW took this photo of a Perseid meteor (in purple on the left) and the Milky Way on Aug. 14, 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © David Kingham) Photographer David Kingham created this composite image from 23 photos on Aug. 12, 2012. He writes, “Last night I went out to Snowy Range in Wyoming in search of dark skies for the Perseid meteor shower. I wanted something special for the foreground and I knew the Snowies faced in the perfect direction to get this shot. I started shooting at 10pm and didn't stop until 5 am, I had to change my battery every 2 hours which made for a long night. The moon rose around 1am to light up the mountain range. This is a composite of 23 images, 22 for the meteors/stars and 1 taken at sunrise for the foreground which was lightly blended in. I also corrected the orientation of the meteors to account for the rotation of the earth (this took forever!)”

Perseid meteors

(Photo © betwo23) This photo was taken on Aug. 12, 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Dave Renwald)

This photo was taken on Aug. 15, 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © tobyharriman) Photographer tobyharriman took this photo on Aug. 12, 2012, near Bonny Doon, Calif.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Fort Photo) Photographer Michael Menfee created this composite image from 228 30-second exposures in southern Wyoming in August 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © hiro) Photographer hiro took this photo of the Perseids on Aug. 12, 2010, near Kaohe Mauka Ahupua`a, in Holualoa, Hawaii.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Fort Photo) Called “The Little Persistent Perseid Meteor That Could,” this photo by Michael Menfee was taken in August 2011. He writes, “So after making the extra effort to triple-check the weather forecast for our preferred Perseid location we still got clouded over, but I refused to give up on the shower. I pointed my camera at the shower radiant and hoped some meteors would be bright enough to shine past the nearly full moon and cloud cover... and I was rewarded with this nifty Perseid image that is quite a bit different than the usual fair. I guess it just goes to show the old lemons to lemonade adage applies to photography too!”

Perseid meteors

(Photo © tlc∙) Photographer Tom Childers took this photo south of Olathe, Kan., on Aug. 13, 2012. He writes, “We had a great, clear night, though pretty windy (as is normal for Kansas).”

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Isaac Baquero Pérez) Photographer Isaac Baquero Pérez took this single shot near Aragon, Spain, on Aug. 9, 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Mulling it Over) This photo was taken on Aug. 12, 2010.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © European Southern Observatory) To get this photo, shot in August 2010, Stéphane Guisard of the European Southern Observatory set up three cameras to take continuous time-lapse images from the platform of the Very Large Telescope in northern Chile. This photo was one of 8,000 individual shots taken the nights of Aug. 12-13 and 13-14.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © pedrog78) This photo was taken in August 2010 near Petersfield, England. Photographer pedrog78 said: “Love the colours in this one — the combo of the ever present light pollution and the trees painted by a passing car give the picture a surreal edge. I think I've got one meteor and one aircraft in this shot.”

Perseid meteors

(Photo © C. Fredrickson Photography) In this composite image taken on Aug. 12, 2012, near Towns County, Ga., photographer Carl Fredrickson layered multiple shots taken of the southern end of the Milky Way.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Ian Alexander Norman) Photographer Ian Alexander Norman took this image near Cantil, Calif., on Aug. 13, 2010.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © the real Kam75) This photo was taken on Aug. 12, 2012.

Perseid meteors

(Photo © Greg Francke) This photo was taken on Aug. 14, 2010.