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

Mindy Sparks
August 10, 2018

Meteor showers are caused when meteoroids, who were once part of a comet or asteroid, start hitting Earth's atmosphere in streams.

However, according to NASA, the night before August 11-12, will also be stunning. The number of Perseids zipping across the sky should increase steadily through the night, peaking just before sunrise.

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.

Where are the best places to go to see the Perseid meteor shower?

The Perseid Meteor Shower takes place when the Earth travels through the cloud of debris left by the Swift-Tuttle Comet.

Such an adjustment occurs every 11 years or so, when Jupiter makes its closest approach to the Swift-Tuttle debris cloud, at a distance of about 160 million miles (257 million kilometers). Bill Cooke, a scientist at NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office in Alabama, framed the phenomenon well in a 2016 interview with NASA.

Although, stargazers in mid-northern latitudes will be privy to the best views, according to NASA, anyone can see the light show.


Why is it considered the best of the year?

The meteor shower is made up of particles that crumbled away from the 26 kilometre (16 mile) wide comet as it zooms in and out of the inner Solar System.

Patience is also a virtue, with shooting stars tending to appear in clusters, followed by a lull.

What you can expect to see if you're in an optimum viewing spot (read: anywhere devoid of light pollution) is around 60 or 70 meteors streaking through the sky every hour.

You might be able to catch a handful or maybe even a dozen meteors per hour in the weeknights leading up to the main event that will coincide roughly with the new moon (meaning the moon is absent from the night sky) on Saturday evening.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower, then it's worth finding a dark location; light pollution will inhibit your view of the meteor shower.

Meteors streak across the night sky during the Orionid meteor shower on October 23, 2016.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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