Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Catch a Glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

Catch a Glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

Go to an area with a dark, open sky to view the Perseids. The annual shower is the result of the earth passing through debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Usually, stargazers could see up to 100 meteors per hour during its peak, but this year there's a full moon in effect.

The Persied Meteor shower will be most visible from outback and rural Australia where lights and pollution are minimal. Such meteors abruptly end their flight across the sky in a flash of light resembling a miniature strobe.

NASA recommends you best "stay up late or wake up early" on the nights of August 11, 12 and 13. Many of the Perseid meteors will still be plenty bright enough to see from city parks, if you don't have a means to travel.

You won't need binoculars or a telescope to see the light show; the meteors will be visible with the naked eye.

Dozens of Perseid meteors appear to sprint toward the Milky Way over Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park in this composite taken by astrophotographer Cody Limber during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower on August 12, 2018.

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But not to fret; should you miss the bulk of the meteors this week, though the number per hour will drop off, some stragglers should hang around until August 24. Looking at devices with bright screens will negatively affect your night vision and hence reduce the number of meteors you see. Swift-Tuttle takes 133 years to orbit the sun once, according to NASA Science. Keep in mind these are black and white cameras.

Space.com will be offering a livestream of the meteor shower on its website starting at 9pm ET on Monday from Slooh.

The shower will continue to appear until August 24, but will get continually weaker as the week continues.

As with all meteor showers, it's smart to carve out a chunk of time to kick back and watch the night sky.

The Draconid meteor shower is the next meteor shower, which falls on October 8, followed by the Orionid meteor shower, which will take place on October 21. But if you trace them backward, you'll see they appear to originate from the Perseus constellation (their namesake). To give another example, the Geminid meteor shower, which is observed each December, is named for a radiant in the constellation Gemini.

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