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Perseid Meteor Shower

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through dust and debris left by comets and asteroids. The debris heats up as it enters our atmosphere and burns up in a bright burst of light, making a vivid path across the sky. What we see are “shooting stars” traveling across the night sky.

The Perseid meteor shower is probably the best known and most popular meteor shower of the year. The meteor shower's peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13. This year, during the peak, there should be about 60-70 meteors per hour.

Experienced sky-watchers say that the key to seeing a meteor shower is to take in as much sky as possible. Go to a dark area, away from city lights, and prepare to sit outside for a few hours. It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark and the longer you wait outside, the more you'll see. A rate of 60-70 meteors per hour, for instance, means around one meteor per minute, including faint streaks along with bright, fireball-generating ones.

Did You Know?: 

·         If you are lucky, you could catch an earthgrazer – a looooong, slow, colorful meteor traveling horizontally across the evening sky. Earthgrazers are rare but memorable.

·         The meteors all come from a single point in the sky. If you trace the paths of the Perseid meteors backwards, you’d find they all come from a point in front of the constellation Perseus.

·         Give yourself at least an hour of observing time, for the meteors in meteor showers come in spurts and are interspersed with lulls, so be patient and don’t rush the process.