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Eyes to the Sky & Make a Wish

 

Eyes to the Sky and Make a Wish

 

According to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, the Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year. During the Perseids’ peak this week, spectators should see about 40-50 meteors per hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016) the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour. The meteor shower’s peak will be visible both the nights of Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, Cooke said, but he’s inclined this year to lean toward the night of Aug. 11-12 for the better show. (Both, however, should be spectacular.)

 

This year the moon will be at its last quarter phase, which means it may mar the show, but the Perseids tend to be bright and good percentage should overcome the moonlight. You still might see 40 to 50 meteors an hour at the showers peak.

 

You can see the Perseid meteor shower best in the Northern Hemisphere and down to the mid-southern latitudes, and all you need to catch the show is darkness, somewhere comfortable to sit and a bit of patience.

 

The key to seeing a meteor shower is “to take in as much sky as possible,” Cooke said. Go to a dark area, the desert would be best, and prepare to sit outside for a few hours. It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and the longer you wait outside, the more you’ll see. A rate of 60-70 meteors per hour, for instance, means around one meteor per minute, including faint streaks along with bright, fireball-generating ones.

 

Relax and look upward for the celestial show.

 

Source: www.earthsky.org & www.space.com

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