Scientists have warned that the comet responsible for the annual Perseid meteor shower is getting dangerously closer to Earth each time it passes. The comet could eventually collide with Earth, causing a major extinction-level event.

The Perseid meteor shower begins in mid-July and peaks in August. It is regarded as the most dramatic and prolific meteor shower due to its sheer volume. On average, about 60 to 100 meteors per hour can be seen from Earth during the shower’s peak.

Although the approaching meteor shower is a much awaited event for sky-gazers worldwide, scientists believe it could also cause Earth’s doom. Previous scientific studies revealed that the Perseid meteors were created by a massive comet known as Swift-Tuttle.

This comet completes its orbital cycle every 133 years. The last time it passed by Earth was in 1992. It is expected to return in 2125 or 2126, Forbes reported.

According to the data collected on Swift-Tuttle’s orbital history, the comet has been moving closer to Earth each time it passes. The change in its trajectory is primarily due to the effect of gravitational forces each time the comet passes by a large planet such as Jupiter.

“Its orbit passes very close to Earth’s orbit, so that it has been viewed as a hazardous object over the years,” Paul Chodas of NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies told

If Swift-Tuttle’s path continues to change, it could eventually find itself on a direct collision course with Earth. Given the comet’s massive size, scientists predicted that the impact event would certainly wipe out all life on the planet. According to NASA, the Swift-Tuttle comet is the largest object in the solar system that passes by Earth on a regular basis.

Prior studies on the comet indicated that its nucleus is 16 miles long, making it more than twice as large as the massive asteroid that reportedly led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. If Swift-Tuttle hits Earth, it would produce an energy that’s equivalent to 20 million hydrogen bombs. This high level of explosion would dwarf the first extinction event that levelled Earth.

Asteroid Impact September 2015
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