Here's how to see the Perseid meteor shower this weekend
10 August, 2018, 23:07 | Author: Kelly Sanders
The Perseid meteor shower begins in late July and runs through mid-August, but this year the peak rates are expected to occur late on the night of Sunday, Aug. 12, and into the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 13, though both nights on either side of that date should also offer good opportunities.
Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.
Anyone who was disappointed by the brightness of the almost full moon obscuring the Perseid meteor shower a year ago will have a chance to turn their stargazing luck around this month. And human habitation in the area can be dated as far back as 10,000 years ago, making this dark sky park the most ancient site in America to view the Perseids.
The comet that left the Perseid meteor stream is a piece of dirty ice about 26km in diameter called 109P/Swift-Tuttle. The ice and dust, accumulating over a thousand years, burn up in our atmosphere to create the meteor shower.
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.
Meanwhile, the best place to view the Perseids meteor shower is in the Northern Hemisphere, so viewers in the United Kingdom and U.S. should be golden.
If you want to catch the Perseids in all their glory, a drive to the darkest place near your home should suffice. At their peak, the Perseids can produce 100 meteors an hour. The Perseid meteor shower is generally the best of the year.
The Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus, which is where the meteor shower's colorful streaks appear to come from in the night sky.
Patience is key. It can take up to 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark for optimal viewing. There's no need to look in any direction - the shooting stars should be visible in every part of the sky, weather permitting.
Stargazers are hoping for clear skies this weekend so they can see the Perseids in all their glory. Venus will be the first to appear after the sun sets and will be best viewed on the western horizon at around 9:30 p.m. local time.
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