The Perseid Meteor Shower Is Back

Perseids 2018 Annual Perseid meteor shower

Perseids 2018 The bright fireballs might erupt at a rate of 50 to 60 an hour

"This year the moon will be near new moon, it will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets underway after midnight", NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com.

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.

Cooke recommends steering clear of bright city lights in order to get the best view.

While this weekend is the peak, Twarog predicts the showers will last through August 24.

How many meteors will we see?

And if you're intrepid enough to travel to a dark sky park, here are some of the absolute best in the United States.

Some meteors will appear lower in the sky as soon as it's fully dark out-around 9:30 p.m. local time.

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Last year's shower was especially active, delivering up to 150 meteors an hour expected at its height, and while this year the shooting stars won't be quite as regular, stargazers can still expect to see around 70 of them an hour.

You can watch the livestream below.

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.

As Earth sweeps through the path of Swift-Tuttle's 133-year-orbit of the sun, it collects some of these bits of leftover comet, which incinerate in our atmosphere in a fiery blaze. The Earth will pass through the densest part of the comet's trail on August 12th, meaning more meteors will be present during this event.

"At the end of the day, these are just small dust particles entering the atmosphere and burning up". You'll want to see the whole night sky, and that equipment will only reduce your field of view.

In addition to the Perseids, there will also be four planets visible in the sky on the nights of the shower's peak. As with other meteor showers like the Leonids and the Orionids, the annual phenomenon takes its name from its constellation of apparent origin. The ramp up to the peak begins overnight Friday into Saturday morning, but the greatest number of visible meteors comes over the weekend.

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