Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

The best meteor shower in years is happening August 11-13

The best meteor shower in years is happening August 11-13

The Perseid shower is one of the most popular shower among stargazers, sending it be one of the brightest and most active meteor showers in the entire year.

You may want to stay up late next weekend as the Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak.

Cooke adds that sky watchers will be able to see the shower starting on Aug. 11 and it will continue through the night of Aug. 12 into Aug. 13. If you take a peek next Friday or Saturday nights, you'll likely still see 80 or more meteors per hour. In 2016, it was an outburst year, which means the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. This year, the moon is in its new phase, which means it won't cast too much distracting light.

The Perseids are produced when the earth moves through the debris left behind by the Comet Swift Tuttle between July 17 to August 24.

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Earthsky's Bruce McClure said "it should be an awesome year to watch the Perseids!" However, the meteors can appear anywhere in the sky. The last time Swift-Tuttle passed near Earth was in 1992, which was so large that earth spends weeks inside the debris zone it left behind.

The best time to observe any meteor shower is after midnight (or after 1 a.m. if you're on daylight time), because then you are on the leading edge of the earth in its orbit around the sun and it sweeps up more meteor - just like bugs on your windshield on a freeway.

No special equipment is needed to enjoy this nighttime spectacle, just a dark sky and some patience. NASA says that at the peak of meteor activity you could see up to 100 meteors per hour.

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