Annual meteor shower to peak this weekend

Perseid meteor shower

The Perseid meteor shower has been taking place since mid-July, but will hit its peak this coming weekend.

For casual and die-hard astronomers alike, the middle of August means the return of the Perseid meteor shower.

The Perseids meteor shower is often considered the most spectacular of the year, and this summer's show should be particularly excellent because of the phase of the moon.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, so no special equipment is needed, but those in rural areas with minimal light pollution will have a clearer view.

The Perseids reach their peak in the early hours of August 13 when up to 70 per hour should be visible. However, it's important to set an alarm clock, because the meteor shower occurs while most people are sleeping.

Since the Perseids always show up in August, they often coincide with warm summer nights - ideal weather for viewing if you can avoid rain or clouds and get to a dark spot.

In addition, according to The Weather Network, the event is one of only three yearly meteor showers where up to 100 meteors per hour can be seen.

Perseid meteor shower coming this weekend to a sky near you
The Perseids meteor shower will be visible nearly all over the world - but will be best seen in the northern hemisphere. The best Perseid performance we know of occurred in 1993, when the peak rate topped 300 meteors per hour, Cooke said.

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Also present in the night sky at this time is Mars, which will hang low in the south east.

You can watch the livestream below. Originating in the direction of the constellation Perseus the Hero, the Perseids arise from debris left in the inner solar system as comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle orbits the Sun every 133 years.

"A meteor shower is a collision between the Earth and the trail of a comet or an asteroid", Dr. Faherty says.

The particles - which can be as small as a grain of sand - meet a fiery end after roughly a thousand years as part of the comet's dust cloud.

The best viewing conditions can be found outside city limits, looking toward the northern horizon between the "Little Dipper" and the constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus.

Meteors streak across the night sky during the Orionid meteor shower on October 23, 2016. 8-10 p.m. Saturday at J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd., New Port Richey. The ramp up to the peak begins overnight Friday into Saturday morning, but the greatest number of visible meteors comes over the weekend.

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