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The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Here, And Might Foretell Humanity’s Extinction

15 Aug 2019, 14:01 UTC
The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Here, And Might Foretell Humanity’s Extinction Kevin Gill, CC BY 2.0

Every year, the Earth completes an orbital revolution around the Sun, returning to the same relative position that it last occupied a year prior. On the night of August 12, 2019, the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak, on practically the same date that it did the year prior, as the Earth makes its annual pass through the cometary debris stream that causes those spectacular light streaks across our skies.

The Perseids are very special among meteor showers for a number of reasons: they’re fast, they’re bright, and they’re extremely reliable. Year after year, even when there’s a full Moon present, the Perseids often put on a show unsurpassed by any other shower. Yet they’re also a reminder of the impending doom that’s headed our way: our eventual collision with an orbit-crossing comet or asteroid. If the body that created the Perseids ever collides with Earth, it will be a worse catastrophe than the extinction of the dinosaurs. Here’s the story everyone should know.

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