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Look out for the Perseid Meteor Shower

12 August 2017
Look out for the Perseid Meteor Shower

Henderson said the best time to look for the Perseids may be before midnight rather than after midnight "when the moon does come up and lights up the sky, hiding the dimmer ones". The Perseids are one of the most popular meteor showers each year, occuring when Earth moves through the path of comet Swift-Tuttle from Jul. 17 through August 24, with the actual peak at 1 p.m. August 12.

Typical raters for the upcoming shower will be about 80 meteors an hour but you could see as many as 150-200 meteors and hour in a heavier burst. You won't need any fancy equipment to spectate this wonderful astrological event as the naked eye is the best choice to view the meteor shower.

The meteor shower, which looks like a fireball show, will be clearer and more attractive if viewed from dark places. "However, these meteors tend to be very long and long-lasting so it is definitely worth trying to see some of them". Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky, and the zenith (the point in the sky directly above you).

The 2017 Perseid meteor shower will peak around 1 p.m. on Aug. 12, so the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13 should see the highest rates. Then look for clear sky, low on the horizon. Our lunar partner will be at three-quarters full and rising late this weekend, and the bright reflection of the Sun's light off the Moon will likely obscure at least some of the Perseid's show at its peak.

"They will be under the same circumstances we are in that the bright moon will wash out the sky", he continued.

The Perseid meteor shower is associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet.

However, the nearly full moon may make some of them hard to see.

"Actually next year, it occurs, I believe, around the time of new moon so we should have a much better display next summer", Chester said.

He said Perseids, which originate from the north east, would be visible in every direction of the sky.

"We hit that meteor debris trail every year about the same time", Stunder said.

There is another celestial show, and this one is going on right now. The general rule when it comes to selecting your viewing spot is the darker, the better, so eagle-eyed stargazers should aim to venture away from the light pollution of towns and cities.