How to catch the Perseid meteor shower starting Wednesday night

Perseid meteor shower 2018

Perseid meteor shower 2018

The comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object that repeatedly passes earth. If you happen to have trouble sleeping on Sunday night (August 12), that's a ideal time to step outside.

Every summer, Earth ploughs through this thick trail (this year, it entered the trail on July 17, and it will exit on August 24), allowing some of the comet's ancient debris to enter and burn up in our planet's atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the best place to view the Perseids meteor shower is in the Northern Hemisphere, so viewers in the United Kingdom and USA should be golden. "You should be able to see some meteors from July 17 to August 24, with the rates increasing during the weeks before August 12 and decreasing after the 13th", NASA said in a skywatching video.

With a new moon providing an extra-dark backdrop to the spectacle, the shooting stars will be brighter than ever.

It's nearly time for the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, and NASA expects it'll be the most dazzling meteor shower of the year.

Since the Perseids always show up in August, they often coincide with warm summer nights - flawless weather for viewing if you can avoid rain or clouds and get to a dark spot. Every August the Earth ploughs through the orbit of this comet sweeping up this dust at a closing speed of over 100,000 miles per hour and the tiny particles vaporise instantly from friction with the upper atmosphere.

This weekend, Twarog is anticipating a slightly higher debris field.

All you'll really need to do is crane your head upwards.

Some meteors only have faint, quick streaks. That's why some people call them shooting stars, but they have nothing to do with stars.

While this weekend is the peak, Twarog predicts the showers will last through August 24. The best time to see the meteor shower's peak locally is late Sunday night / very early Monday morning.

The Perseids are known both for their epic "fireballs" - explosions of light and color that last longer than those from typical meteors - and for the long, streaking trails they leave behind.

Spectators in the Northern Hemisphere will have the best view of the Perseid meteor shower, as the meteors will appear to radiate out from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky.

"It's just handsome", Twarog said.

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