Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

A Small Window to see the Perseid's This Weekend

A Small Window to see the Perseid's This Weekend

Some 60 to 100 meteors — better known as shooting stars — can be seen per hour as the Earth encounters the gritty debris of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the icy parent of the Perseid meteor shower. And conditions for viewing the meteors will be next to ideal this year.

Perseids meteor shower 2018: What is it?

LOOK up into the night sky and watch the annual Perseid Meteor Shower event this weekend. Originating in the direction of the constellation Perseus the Hero, the Perseids arise from debris left in the inner solar system as comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun every 133 years.

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When is the best time to see them?

2018's forecast is looking good: Predicted to peak between 4 p.m. EDT August 12 and 4 a.m. EDT August 13, eager skygazers should enjoy warm temperatures and a Moonless sky, with an estimated 80-90 meteors per hour appearing for those at dark sites. In the evening, starting around 10 p.m., you'll see fewer meteors, but those that do appear will be longer-lasting and tend to have longer tails.

Since the Perseids always show up in August, they often coincide with warm summer nights - ideal weather for viewing if you can avoid rain or clouds and get to a dark spot.

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If stargazers miss the show on Saturday, they also can look for it again beginning at about 11 p.m. on Sunday night. The August shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus because the meteors appear to originate there.

Stargazers are hoping for clear skies this weekend so they can see the Perseids in all their glory.

-The meteor shower is more visible from the Northern Hemisphere and some mid-southern latitudes, so people in the United States will have a prime view. "You can look anywhere you want to - even directly overhead". So if you can find a spot away from artificial light and free of clouds, you will be in for a great show! Since the earth passes through that trail of comet detritus every year, we get a pretty little show. So that's the part of the sky you should anchor your meteor search from, but they will scatter across the sky as shooting stars from there.

The shower that we see from Earth is the little bits of ice and dust - that are usually no bigger than a pea - hitting the Earth's atmosphere at a staggering 134,000 miles per hour.

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The meteor shower will reach its peak on the nights of August 11 and 12, and the show will get underway around midnight local time.

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