Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend - here’s how to watch

Jan Cross
August 10, 2018

The Perseids are one of the more active meteor showers on stargazers" calendars, producing an average of between 60 and 100 "shooting stars' an hour at their peak. People can look directly overhead to see the meteors, as long as they are in a dark area without too much light pollution. And conditions for viewing the meteors will be next to flawless this year.

The Perseids are perhaps the most beloved of all meteor showers due to their predictability.

The Perseid meteor shower is happening and Space.com says the shower will peak during overnight hours as Aug. 11 turns into Aug. 12 and again overnight on Aug. 12-13.

The Perseids appear at about this time every year when Earth ventures through pieces of debris left behind by the ancient comet Swift-Tuttle.

When is the best time to see the meteor shower?

The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus because that's where the point from which they appear to originate, called the radiant, is located. Your meteor rates will be lower, but it's possible to see at least a few of the brightest meteors over the course of a few hours.

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The Perseids can be witnessed in the northern sky whenever the meteors enter Earth's atmosphere throughout the day.

Unfortunately, you may have to stay up late or set your alarm for an early start if you want to spot the best of the display. However, this year with a dark clear sky, it's possible to see an incredible light show.

To make the best of the meteors, observers should avoid built-up areas and try to find an unobstructed view to the east. The Slooh observatory will host a livestream of the shower starting at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. Since the earth passes through that trail of comet detritus every year, we get a pretty little show.

The meteor shower will grow more spectacular through the weekend with top performance between midnight and dawn Sunday and Monday. "Comets and asteroids leave tiny bits of themselves in the orbital path that they take around the sun".

In addition to the Perseids, there will also be four planets visible in the sky on the nights of the shower's peak.

During the maximum, or peak, Sunday night and early Monday morning, it could be possible to catch as many as 110 meteors in an hour, or almost two per minute on average.

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