WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Posted August 10, 2012

A particularly bright meteoroid (Credit: Lunar Science Institute)

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak this weekend.

The result of debris burning up as it the atmosphere, the meteor shower occurs as Earth passes through the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle. This weekend, look to the North, just below the up-ended W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. Meteors will appear as streaks of light in the surrounding sky.

Your best chance to see the maximum number of meteors is after midnight as the Earth rotates toward the comet's tail. The rate at which meteors are visible is expected to increase throughout the night, peaking from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Rural areas and those with darker skies are expected to see 50-60 meteors per hour during that peak period.  In more suburban areas, you should be able to see 20-25 meteors per hour.

Weather Friday and Saturday night could be challenging for sky watching, but Sunday's weather is expected to be more favorable.

Tony Rice is a volunteer in the NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador program and software engineer at Cisco Systems. You can follow him on twitter @rtphokie.


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