Beyond the Weather: Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Perseid meteor shower 2018

This year's Perseid meteor shower will be highly visible both Saturday and Sunday night, giving watchers ample opportunity to spot plenty of shooting stars.

The moon won't be making an appearance this weekend, instead about 50 meteorites per hour will light up the sky offering star gazers a dazzling show between midnight and dawn. As the cosmic junk - many the size of a grain of sand - enters the atmosphere, it burns up in a flash, appearing as "shooting stars" across the sky. And while some pesky clouds will be around on Friday and Saturday, forecasts show a return to clear skies on Sunday and Monday. And there's no need to worry about an overly bright moon. Bill Cooke, a scientist at NASA's Meteoroid Environments Office in Alabama, framed the phenomenon well in a 2016 interview with NASA.

This Perseid meteor shower will take place during a almost new moon-meaning it won't interfere with the show-and is expected to be the best meteor shower this year.

The Perseids, one of the best meteor showers of the year, will peak this weekend, and depending where you are the viewing conditions could be great.

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But don't just peak up quickly and then go home. Don't forget to allow some time for your eyes to adjust to the dark. Mars and Saturn will also be visible at different points. Telling which is which shouldn't be an issue. But for those who want to experience the meteor shower amped up to 11, getting to a "dark sky park" is an absolute must. We're pleased to announce we will be livestreaming the 2018 Perseids meteor shower peak in 4K ultra HD. The comet is the largest object known to repeatedly careen by earth, with a nucleus of 16 miles wide.

As Earth sweeps through the path of Swift-Tuttle's 133-year-orbit of the sun, it collects some of these bits of leftover comet, which incinerate in our atmosphere in a fiery blaze. But, keep your head up and eye to the sky, you might catch a glimpse of a few shooting stars in the days leading up to or days following the peak.

"The Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower because they're a summer watching event when people are often more relaxed, kids don't have to be up early for school, and the weather is so much more accommodating than in the colder fall or winter months", Dr. Jacqueline Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, tells TIME.

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