The summer's most stunning meteor shower the Perseids will peak this weekend. What are the best viewing times and details for the year's most amazing "shooting stars?"
The Perseids meteor shower occurs every year near August when the Earth passes through the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. When you go outside to view this beautiful meteor shower, you will see that many of the "shooting stars" seem to originate from the constellation Perseus, which is where the event's name comes from. The great thing is that you don't need any special equipment to watch the night sky's dazzling display.
In the U.S. the shower's peak will be early on Sunday morning, August 12. From between midnight and dawn, you will be able to see as many as 60 meteors per hour if you live in a place where the viewing conditions are right and the weather cooperates.
The good news is that the moon is a crescent that night, and it won't rise until around 2 a.m., so it won't contaminate the sky with too much light. If you are in an area with good viewing conditions, these "shooting stars" will look like balls of fire streaking across the sky, which is part of what makes viewing this meteor shower so exciting.
Have you watched these meteors before? Do you plan to view them this year during their peak viewing times? If you don't get a chance to get outside early Sunday morning, you have a good chance of seeing some of these meteors either in the nights before or after Sunday too.