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The Perseids, the year’s biggest and arguably most popular meteor shower, is taking place starting tonight and extends through August 13. However, peak visibility is expected between August 12 and 13, according to Time Magazine, particularly between the hours of 3am and 5am.
At the time of the showers, there will be a near new moon according to Bill Cooke, a NASA meteor expert, making it among the best of 2018. The Perseids are also equipped with fireballs, which should make the show particularly vivid.
This annual meteor shower will unfold once Comet Swift-Tuttle, the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth, leaves behind a trail of dust and debris, according to Space.com. When this debris (formally known as meteoroids when they are in space) hits Earth’s atmosphere, they turn into meteors.
They appear as bright streaks of light, which are best seen in dark areas. You will see an average of 60 to 70 meteors per hour, but during outbursts, up to 200 can shoot through the sky.
If you’re looking to watch the meteor shower, it’s best to give your eyes at least 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. According to Cooke, lying on your back and “[taking] in as much sky as possible” are essentials for the best experience.
The best views of the meteor shower will be in the Northern Hemisphere, but those in the mid-Southern hemisphere may see a shooting star if they are facing the northeast horizon, according to Time. If you aren’t in a prime area, the meteor shower is the perfect excuse to escape to the countryside for a long weekend to watch the sky light up with shooting stars.
But if traveling is not an option, don’t fret. While it may not come with the reputation as the year’s biggest meteor shower, the Orinoid Meteor Shower will take place Oct. 2 to Nov. 7, with its peak expected between Oct. 21 and 22.
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