Stargazers to witness Perseids meteor shower this weekend

Carlsbad Caverns
Carlsbad Caverns

10 August, 2017

The astronomical event, which is perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year, will peak at 1PM ET (6PM in the UK) on 12 August.

Bullock said the meteor shower - which has been building since July - will be best viewed from Aug. 10-13, but that Saturday, Aug. 12 is when earth will pass through the dustiest area of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which comes from the Perseus constellation. They hit our atmosphere at a distance of 50 to 75 miles with a speed that can be 25,000 or even 160,000 miles per hour.

"This year, we are expecting enhanced rates of about 150 per hour or so, but the increased number will be cancelled out by the bright Moon, the light of which will wash out the fainter Perseids".

As shown in the simulation below, the meteoroid stream from Comet Swift-Tuttle is not completely uniform, so there are times when we pass through more diffuse sections, and other times when we pass through parts where the comet debris is more concentrated.

The Perseid Meteor Shower produces more fireballs than any other meteor shower.

What causes the meteor shower?

Increasing rain chances & cooler temperatures this week
Friday , a chance of showers and thunderstorms before 2 p.m., then showers likely and possibly a storm after 2 p.m. Lows through this period will be in the low 70s with mostly cloudy skies and lingering rain chances.

A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid meteor shower in 2015.

But the moon will not fully rise until around 11pm on Sunday, giving viewers plenty of time to observe the dark skies.

The weather is going to play a large role in this event, of course, as clear or cloudy skies will determine who will actually get to see the meteor shower.

One of the biggest meteor showers of the year is underway and will peak this week.

You can tell if a meteor belongs to a particular shower by tracing back its path to see if it originates near a specific point in the sky, called the radiant. Instead, bring along a blanket or a lawn chair, so you can sit or lie down, and look straight up in to the night sky.

If you get to a dark place, the shower is best viewed between midnight and 6 a.m.

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