LOOK UP! Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend!

Best meteor shower of the year peaks this weekend

The very popular Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend and it will be extra special this year because of the new moon making the skies extra dark. The only concern for viewing is wildfire smoke is likely to stay parked over Montana through next week.

Anyone living in the Northern hemisphere Saturday and Sunday will have a chance to watch what is "probably the best [meteor] shower of 2018", as NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke put it.

Why does this occur every summer?

"Earth ploughs through the debris of a comet that's surrounding the sun and some meteor showers might generate about 10 meteors an hour, but the Perseids are over 100 meteors per hour". When the Earth crosses paths with this debris, specks of small particles hit the earth's atmosphere and disintegrate in flashes of light. Note that the rates listed below are for ideal conditions: very dark skies free of moonlight or light pollution.

In the days leading up to, and after, the peak of the meteor shower, many shooting stars will already be visible.

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Know that the meteors all come from a single point in the sky. No matter the time of night, on the nights of August 12 and 13, Perseid meteors can be seen across the heavens, but the American Meteor Society advises that you should "aim your center of view about half-way up in the sky" for the most successful viewing. "You'll want to look north east".

What is a meteor shower?

The show might not be quite as grand on August 11 and Aug.13, but it will still be a treat. However, most like the Perseid, can only be seen under ideal conditions, which according to Blake, will take place August 10-14.

If you decide to go shooting star spotting, don't forget to let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 15 to 20 minutes.

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