Look up: Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend


The stars are aligning for anyone interested in watching the Perseid meteor shower this weekend. This annual occurrence is just one of the many cosmic phenomenon that we've seen this year (so far).

A clear sky could make way for an incredible natural show of streaking fireball meteors and so far, (as of Friday afternoon) the forecast is looking ideal!

If you know your constellations, look for Perseus in the northern sky, soon after sunset this time of year. 60 to 100 meteors are expected to be visible every hour.

"Sky gazers just need to look to the northeast to observe the Perseid showers", Dr Marzouk suggested.

The comet itself will come extremely close to Earth in a "near-miss" in 2126. NASA recommends heading out to see the show during predawn hours, but meteor streaks may appear as early as 10 pm; see an updated list of activity here.

The Perseids are caused by the Earth passing through a comet's debris field, according to the American Meteor Society.

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This is classified as an outburst rather than a meteor shower.

Allow about 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Kristin Hendershot, a NASA solar system ambassador, says the park is one of the best places to view it because of the darkness.

Perseid meteor travel at 132,000 mph, or over 36 miles per second. "Even if the sky is dark enough, if you are exposed to any bright light nearby, your eyes will not be dark-adapted", said Bellavia.

A number of planets will also be highly visible. But not to fret, as should you miss the bulk of the meteors this weekend, though the number per hour will drop off, some stragglers should hang around until August 24.

-If you plan on capturing them on camera, don't forget to lower the shutter speed!

"We have some favorable sky conditions for viewing coming up as we get towards the peak of it", said Ron Steve, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Louisville.