Perseid Meteor Shower: How to see it this weekend

An outburst of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in August 2009 in this time-lapse image

As long as you're willing to be patient and work with any clouds floating around, skies should start to clear out Saturday night.

The meteors can be traced to the Perseus constellation, from which they get their name, which will climb in the northeastern sky as the evening passes. During the Sunday night peak, Steve said up to 60 meteors an hour (an average of one per minute) could be visible.

The best viewing conditions this weekend will likely be over the northern and central Great Plains as well as parts of the Midwest, where skies are expected to be generally clear.

The annual performance of the Perseid meteor shower is due to reach its peak late on Sunday night (Aug. 12) into the predawn hours of Monday morning.

According to NASA, just because this weekend is the peak of the meteor shower doesn't mean they can't be seen afterward.

Just lean back and observe as much sky overhead as possible. Stargazers will be able to see the falling debris as "shooting stars".

"Although the peak is August 12 and 13, the subsequent two nights will offer good viewing as well", he said.

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The photographs show the meteors leaving a stream of bright lights in their wake as they break through the atmosphere.

StormCenter 2 Severe Weather Specialist Brad Spakowitz says the meteors are remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle. The ice and dust from that field then burn up in our atmosphere, creating the meteor shower. The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but they look the brightest against the darkest sky, which is straight up.

For the best viewing, move away from city lights and look to the north.

A number of planets will also be highly visible. Allow your eyes some time to adjust.

One such person is Paul Jacobs, who photographed some stunning images of the Perseid meteors over the beach at Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire.

Locally, Natural Bridge is offering an opportunity to watch the meteor shower between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Saturday.

And don't forget to grab your camera before you head out.

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