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Perseid meteor shower peaks this week

Every year from about July 17 to August 24th Earth crosses the orbital path of comet Swift-Tuttle and runs into the debris left from the comet. The debris enters our atmosphere at 130,000 mph, burning up as it falls through the sky. We see these burning particles as meteors or sometimes referred to as “shooting stars”. The Perseid meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus, the direction from where they appear to radiate.

From the 11th to the 14th of August, Earth will pass through the thickest debris from the comet giving us the best show of meteors. The peak of the meteor shower is expected Wednesday and Thursday nights when it’s possible to see 50 or more meteors per hour in the late-night sky.

We’ll have a dark sky to view the meteor shower this year. Moonlight won’t wash out our viewing of the meteors since the moon is in it’s new phase Thursday. Also, high pressure is expected to keep our night sky mostly clear this week giving us nice weather to watch for meteors.

You can see meteors anytime after dark but the best time to watch is midnight to dawn as more meteors streak across the sky. You’ll want to get in an open area, away from city lights and face northeast. Be patient. Meteors often come in spurts with periodic lulls. Give yourself at least an hour and you should see a nice display.

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