Friday, 17 August, 2018

What you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a good show as it reaches a peak this weekend The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a good show as it reaches a peak this weekend
Frank Williams | 11 August, 2018, 21:52

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. A few clouds will pass by Saturday night, otherwise skies should be mostly clear.

When the "radiant" is highest in the sky, we'll see the most meteors. This year the Moon will be near "New Moon". Make sure you have a dark area to view. Lie on your back and look straight up. Meteors should be viewable in nearly any direction.

There, you will find listings for over 150 National Weather Service forecast offices in the United States, including in Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.

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However, many more photographs will come this weekend when the Perseid meteor shower peaks. This is caused by the comet Swift-Tuttle. They enter the Earth's atmosphere at 60 km/second. However, sometimes the planet Jupiter affects what can be seen on Earth.

It will run through to the third week of August, and won't return until the same time next year when Earth moves across its orbit and into the comet's debris once again. "Under flawless conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour".

The Virtual Telescope Project will be streaming a view of the Perseid meteor shower on Sunday from the Castel Santa Maria in Italy's Perugia province, where the community is restoring the 16th-century church that has been damaged by several earthquakes. And although 2016's outburst saw eager watchers spotting up to 300 shooting stars an hour, 2018 is set to be a landmark year. At that speed, someone traveling from Flint to Detroit would arrive in 1.5 seconds. Those tiny bits of debris, traveling at around 132,000 miles per hour, create vivid streaks of light when they collide with Earth's atmosphere.

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