The August 12, 2014 Google Doodle showcases the Perseid Meteor Shower, which happens every August, and, per NASA, is considered to be the best meteor shower of the year.
In a blog post, Google says the animated Doodle draws inspiration from travel and time-lapse footage.
According to NASA, the 2014 Perseids will peak during the night and early morning hours of August 12 and 13, but may be obscured by a nearly full moon. Generally, however, the fast and bright meteors in the Perseids, which number as many as 50 to 100 per hour and leave long wakes of light and color, combined with warm nighttime weather usually make viewing easy.
The Doodle appeared in the U.S., including Alaska, on August 12.
It also appeared on August 11 in other parts of the world.
Google has doodled this particular meteor shower before, but says it wanted to bring it back this year to “encourage users to learn more about this fantastic celestial event.”
In fact, Doodler Sophie Diao says her inspiration was space, as well as her own stargazing on drives along the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur, California.
“The visual spectacle in front of you, combined with being ‘in the middle of nowhere,’ definitely evokes some type of feeling,” Diao says.
In addition, Diao says she hopes her work inspires people to go outside to see the meteor shower or at least be reminded that “the universe is amazing!”
Diao says her research involved watching time-lapse footage of meteor showers and reading about meteor behavior. As a result, she learned meteoroids sometimes get separated from their streams and that smaller meteor showers happen at the same time as the Perseids, which she says she tried to reflect in the video.
The accompanying music, which was composed by Niko Leiva and inspired by the mountains of Bolivia, has “a contemplative mood that fits the sky nicely,” she adds.
Engineer Corrie Scalisi and Doodler Katy Wu also contributed to the Doodle.