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11 August 2018, 01:22 | Justin Tyler
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER The dazzling display can be seen mid-August
The meteor shower's peak is expected to occur the night of Sunday, Aug. 12 into the wee hours of Monday morning.
The Perseid meteor shower is happening and Space.com says the shower will peak during overnight hours as Aug. 11 turns into Aug. 12 and again overnight on Aug. 12-13. 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 particles that cause the Perseids are travelling at around 60 km per second, which is why the meteors we see are typically very fast and bright.
"For these meteor showers, we're passing through a bit of debris that's in the earth's orbit, and we're kind of picking it up like bugs on a windshield", Schmoll explained. And, with NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke dubbing the Perseids "the best shower of the year", this certainly isn't one to miss. Best of all, constellations and the Milky Way should be highly visible due to a New Moon on August 11, meaning there will not be as much light to drown out the stars.
"All people have to do is count how many "shooting stars" (meteors is the correct term) they see every 15 minutes and send them to Astronomy Ireland's website www.astronomy.ie that night or the next day". The radiant point of the shower, which is the spot where the meteors tend to originate, is in the constellation Perseus. Look to the northeast about 40 degrees off the horizon. However, this year with a dark clear sky, it's possible to see an wonderful light show. The shower begins to peak on Friday, and the busiest stretch and the best viewing, according to NASA, will be from midnight Sunday through the predawn hours of Monday.
Some meteors will appear lower in the sky as soon as it's fully dark out-around 9:30 p.m. local time.
Every summer, Earth ploughs through this thick trail (this year, it entered the trail on July 17, and it will exit on August 24), allowing some of the comet's ancient debris to enter and burn up in our planet's atmosphere. In those cases they can actually predict that when the Earth passes through the orbital path of the comet there will be a higher than average debris field. As with other meteor showers like the Leonids and the Orionids, the annual phenomenon takes its name from its constellation of apparent origin.
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