Perseid Meteor Shower to Peak This Week

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The best meteor shower of the year is upon us. 

Across the Northern Hemisphere, sky watchers will be treated to a stunning array of meteors streaking overhead from late Sunday into early Monday, as well as Monday night into early Tuesday.

The Perseids occur when Earth enters the debris field left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Earth entered the debris field in late July, but this weekend will be the peak, with as many as 50 meteors streaking by every hour. The Earth will exit the debris field in late August.

According to NASA, a live broadcast of the meteor shower from a camera in Huntsville, Alabama, will be available on the NASA Meteor Watch Facebook page after 8 p.m. EDT Sunday (0000 UTC Monday).

Perseid meteor shower August 2018The Perseid meteor shower is often considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year due to its high rates and pleasant late-summer temperatures. Tonight’s live stream will continue through the early morning hours as long as the weather holds. The stream is passive, meaning we don’t have commentary, but have a camera set-up at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL of the nighttime sky for those wanting to catch a glimpse of a Perseid. Remember, the sky is dark, so most of the time the stream will look like a blank black screen, and Perseid’s will look like a streak or flash of light intermittently. Perseid meteors, caused by debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, began streaking across the skies in late July and will peak on tonight! This year’s shower peak, however, has the added bonus of dark skies courtesy of an early-setting crescent Moon. Combine these ideal observing conditions and high rates (an average of 60 meteors per hour at the peak, but that doesn’t mean you will see that many on screen) with the fact that the best nights for viewing – August 11 to 12 and August 12 to 13 – occur on a weekend and you have a recipe for successfully viewing some celestial fireworks!

Posted by NASA Meteor Watch on Sunday, August 12, 2018

For best viewing, NASA recommends going away from bright city lights to darker areas.

The meteors can be seen in all directions, NASA says. And all you need are your eyes; no binoculars or telescopes required. People should give their eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark, NASA adds.

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