The Perseid meteor shower due to light up the sky this weekend originates from Comet Swift-Tuttle – the single most dangerous object known to humanity.
Space experts say the massive comet could hit Earth at some point – releasing the equivalent devastation of 20,000,000 hydrogen bombs exploding.
The comet completes its orbit around the sun every 133 years – and in 2,400 years it could cause an impact with 30 times the energy of that which killed the dinosaurs.
It would bring the worst mass extinction Earth has seen in hundreds of millions of years.
Astrophysisist Ethan Siegel claims the sheer size and speed of Comet Swift-Tuttle would set our planet up for a major catastrophe if a collision were to happen.
Dr Siegel said: “The nucleus of the comet is 26 kilometers across, and it takes 133 years to make a complete ellipse in its orbit.
“It contains nearly 30 times the kinetic energy of the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs, and based on an upcoming interaction with Jupiter, has about a 1-in-a-million chance of colliding with Earth in the year 4479.”
According to Siegal, the comment hasn’t crossed into the inner solar system since 1991, and isn’t set to do so again until 2126.
“With every pass into the inner solar system, there’s a chance that one of the gas giant planets will influence this comet’s orbit,” he wrote on his blog Starts With a Bang.
“There’s a chance that, just like the Perseid stream was thrust into Earth’s orbital path, someday in the future, this comet will achieve a collision course with Earth.”
For the next 2,000 years, this particular comet poses little threat to Earth and us, Siegal assures.
But a gravitational nudge from Jupiter could push it off course, resulting in a number of terrifying scenarios.
Siegel said it could be sent hurtling into the sun, or even ejected from the solar system.
Or, it could end up plunging towards Earth and wiping us out, triggering effects similar to those that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
“One tiny, almost imperceptible gravitational tug could be the end of the era of the mammals,” Siegel concludes.
“After tens of millions of years of relative peace within our galaxy, one errant comet could do us all in.”
It comes after Daily Star Online revealed the Perseid meteor shower is thought to be the tears of a Biblical saint who was burnt alive on an outdoor grill.
The spectacle is known as the “tears of St. Lawrence” to some Catholics.
St. Lawrence, the early Christian martyr, was cooked to death by the Romans on an outdoor grill around the time of the meteor shower 1,760 years ago.
This year you can catch the spectacular display on August 12, going into August 13, when the shower peaks.