Perseids (PER)
Discovery date36 CE (first record)[1][2]
Parent bodyComet Swift–Tuttle[3]
Right ascension03h 04m[3]
Occurs duringJuly 17 – August 24
Date of peakAugust 13
Velocity58[4] km/s
Zenithal hourly rate100[3]
See also: List of meteor showers

The Perseids are prolific meteor showers associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point from which they appear to hail (called the radiant) lies in the constellation Perseus.

The name is derived in part from the word Perseidai (Greek : Περσείδαι), a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus.


A near-Earth perspective of its orbit, the radiant of the Perseid meteor shower, and the orbit of the shower’s parent comet, 109P/Swift-Tuttle, to show their spatial relationships on August 12 00:00 UTC. The Perseid debris cloud is fairly wide (~0.1 AU), filling the frame.

The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and 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.[5] Most of the particles have been part of the cloud for around a thousand years. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1865, which can give an early mini-peak the day before the maximum shower.[6] The dimensions of the cloud in the vicinity of the Earth are estimated to be approximately 0.1 astronomical units (AU) across and 0.8 AU along the latter’s orbit, spread out by annual interactions with the Earth’s gravity.[7]

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity between 9 and 14 August, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky; however, because of the shower’s radiant in the constellation of Perseus, the Perseids are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere. As with many meteor showers the visible rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since more meteoroids are scooped up by the side of the Earth moving forward into the stream, corresponding to local times between midnight and noon, as can be seen in the accompanying diagram.[8] While many meteors arrive between dawn and noon, they are usually not visible due to daylight. Some can also be seen before midnight, often grazing the Earth’s atmosphere to produce long bright trails and sometimes fireballs. Most Perseids burn up in the atmosphere while at heights above 80 kilometres (50 mi).[9]

The 2010 Perseids over the ESO's VLT
Year Perseids active between Peak of shower
2017 July 17 – August 24 August 12[10]
2016 July 17 – August 24 August 11–12 [11] (ZHRmax 150)
2015 July 17 – August 24 August 12–13[12] (ZHRmax 95) (New moon Aug 14)
2014 July 17 – August 24 August 13 (ZHRmax 68)[13] (Full moon Aug 10)
2013 July 17 – August 24 August 12 (ZHRmax 109)[14]
2012 July 17 – August 24 August 12 (ZHRmax 122)[15]
2011 July 17 – August 24 August 12 (ZHRmax 58)[16] (Full moon Aug 13)[17]
2010 July 23 – August 24 August 12 (ZHRmax 142)[18]
2009 July 14 – August 24 August 13 (ZHRmax 173) (the estimated peak was 173,[19] but fainter meteors were washed out by a gibbous Moon.)
2008 July 25 – August 24[20] August 13 (ZHRmax 116)[20]
2007 July 19 – August 25[21] August 13 (ZHRmax 93)[21]
2006 August 12/13 (ZHRmax 100)[22]
2005 August 12 (ZHR max 90[23])[24]
2004 August 12 (ZHRmax >200)[4]
1994 (ZHRmax >200)[2]
1993 (ZHRmax 200–500)[2]
1992 August 11 outburst under an Aug 13 full moon[25]
1864 (ZHRmax >100)[2]
1863 (ZHRmax 109–215)[2]
1861 (ZHRmax 78–102)[2]
1858 (ZHRmax 37–88)[2]
1839 (ZHRmax 165)[2]
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Perseïdes
asturianu: Perseides
azərbaycanca: Perseidlər
беларуская: Персеіды
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Пэрсэіды
български: Персеиди
català: Perseids
čeština: Perseidy
Deutsch: Perseiden
eesti: Perseiidid
Ελληνικά: Περσείδες
español: Perseidas
Esperanto: Perseidoj
euskara: Perseidak
français: Perséides
Gaeilge: Peirsidí
galego: Perseidas
हिन्दी: पेर्सेइड
hrvatski: Perzeidi
Bahasa Indonesia: Perseid
italiano: Perseidi
עברית: פרסאידים
Latina: Perseidae
latviešu: Perseīdas
Lëtzebuergesch: Perseiden
lietuvių: Perseidai
Limburgs: Perseïde
magyar: Perseidák
македонски: Персеиди
Bahasa Melayu: Perseid
Nederlands: Perseïden
norsk: Perseidene
norsk nynorsk: Perseidane
occitan: Perseids
polski: Perseidy
português: Perseidas
română: Perseide
русский: Персеиды
Simple English: Perseids
slovenčina: Perzeidy
slovenščina: Perzeidi
српски / srpski: Персеиди
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Perzeidi
suomi: Perseidit
svenska: Perseiderna
தமிழ்: வால்மழை
українська: Персеїди