This comet is the cause of the Perseids

Of course, all this tells us about the culture and historical events that surround this meteor shower, but not about the authentic astrophysical origin of the event in question. This origin is neither divine nor has anything to do with the Perseus constellation or any of the stars that form it, but is located in the Swift–Tuttle Comet. This comet was discovered in 1862 during a close approach to Earth, by astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle. During this approach the comet became as bright as the pole star. It was predicted from observations and measurements in 1862 that would return through the interior of the solar system between the years 1979 and 1983, but it was not like that. The comet ended up returning in 1992, with which it was definitively identified as the protagonist comet of some historical observations, such as those made in China in the year 188. In its approach of 1992 it was not visible to the naked eye, since it did not get to be less than about 170 million kilometers from Earth, greater than the distance that separates us from the Sun. However, this approach was enough to cause, the following year, a considerable increase in the activity of the meteor shower of the Perseids, which reached the rate of 300 fireballs per hour.

We now know from observations after the 1992 approach that the comet has about 26 kilometers in diameter and takes about 133 years to complete one orbit complete around the Sun. This orbit is also highly elliptical, which means that the difference between the closest point of its orbit, the perihelion, and the furthest point, the aphelion, is considerable. During the perihelionSwift-Tuttle it gets to be slightly closer than the Earth to the Sun, about 144 million kilometers from the star. During the aphelion however, the comet can reach a distance of more than 51 times the distance between the Earth and the Sunthen standing beyond Neptune and even the farthest parts of Pluto’s orbit. In addition, the comet is in a 1:11 resonance with Jupiter, completing one orbit around the Sun for every 11 orbits of the gas giant.

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