Here's What You Need to Know About the Perseid Meteor Shower

12 August 2017, 12:10 | Shawn Tate

A long exposure captured this Perseid meteor in 2015

A long exposure captured this Perseid meteor in 2015

Earth passes through the Comet Swift-Tuttle's path between July 17 and August 24 and our planet passes through the dustiest, most dense area on Saturday, which allows viewers to see the most meteors in the shortest time, Stunder explained. The Perseids are one of the most popular meteor showers each year, occuring when Earth moves through the path of comet Swift-Tuttle from Jul. 17 through August 24, with the actual peak at 1 p.m. August 12. "At best, they outburst from a normal rate between 80-100 meteors per hour to a few hundred per hour", he says in a statement.

It looks like the smoke haze that has dogged Lower Mainland skies for weeks might be clearing just in time for the annual Perseid meteor showers. And that's only if you're in a really dark place.

The meteors radiate from the constellation Perseus, but you won't need to search for the constellation in the sky because they will streak across the sky in every direction. The moon will be ¾ full which means the bright light it emits will drown out some of the visible meteors streaking across our skies.

Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy, said: "We can look forward to a decent display, even though they aren't going to be raining down from the sky".

Although the Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend, meteors will be visible through the end of August.

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He contiued that in 2017, NASA is expecting enhanced rates of about 150 per hour or so, but the increased number will be cancelled out by the bright moon. The light from the moon will drown the visibility of the fireballs from these meteors.

The Moon will also make it a particularly bad year for viewing in Australia, where the peak will be around 6AM on August 12.

Whether you're on NASA's payroll or a total layman, the Perseid meteor shower is not to be missed. Hendricks said the Saturday night sky, though cloudy and possibly stormy at first, should clear up by midnight. The comet only orbits the sun every 133 years but when it does it leaves a trail of dust and small debris behind it.

Luckily for us here in western Nevada County, we aren't bogged down by the artificial city lights that many urban areas have, giving us some great local spots to view the show. On average at its peak, we could see 30-40 meteors per hour.



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