Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

This Weekend Is The Perseid Meteor Show - Viewing Conditions Will Be Perfect

This Weekend Is The Perseid Meteor Show - Viewing Conditions Will Be Perfect

The annual Perseid meteor shower happens when the Earth sweeps through dust that's left behind by a comet swift-tunnel, according to University of Manitoba instructor Danielle Pahud.

Unlike other celestial sightings that require a telescope or binoculars, the best way to watch a meteor shower is with the naked eye.

This year there will be favourable viewing conditions.

For the best views, Cooke recommends finding a dark place, away from any sources of light, and simply lying on your back and looking straight up.

According to the United States space agency, the Perseids are well known for their speed and brightness.

The photo comes courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Meteoroid Environment Office. The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun once every 133 years, so every August, the Earth passes through the comet's debris field. While the Perseid meteor shower will be visible on Saturday night, the real show comes on Sunday, with peak shooting star activity happening the night of August 12 to 13.

"This year's shower peak, however, has the added bonus of dark skies courtesy of an early-setting crescent Moon".

The Perseids are one of the more active meteor showers on stargazers" calendars, producing an average of between 60 and 100 "shooting stars' an hour at their peak. It manifests as bright streaks of light shooting across the sky but if you blink, they're gone - literally.

Perhaps you might remember an wonderful meteor show back in the early 1990s?

The Perseids' radiant is located near to their namesake Constellation Perseus. "The Perseids will put on a great show". Debris from the tail end of this comet hits our atmosphere at around 132,000 miles per hour and burns up before it makes contact with the surface of the Earth. However, just like people, each year's meteor shower exhibits its own personality. You can tell if a meteor is a Perseid by following its direction backwards and, if it's coming from the direction of Perseus, it's a Perseid.

Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.

"Some are sporadic background meteors".

If you miss the Perseids, don't worry.

"If you see a meteor try to trace it backwards".

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