Bright moon may spoil Perseid meteor shower viewing this weekend

Bright moon may spoil Perseid meteor shower viewing this weekend

Bright moon may spoil Perseid meteor shower viewing this weekend

If sky watching has become a new pastime for residents, the Perseids meteor shower peaks Saturday night.

"The Perseids appear to produce more fireballs than any other meteor shower, where fireballs are extra bright meteors", the astronomer stated.

"During a good Perseid shower under ideal conditions you can see about one meteor per minute", Cooke said. The meteor shower can be seen with the naked eye and doesn't need telescope or other equipment, he said, adding that the viewing experience is better and the meteor shower, which looks like a fireball show, is clearer and more handsome in places far from lighting.

This year, however, the valiant Perseids will be duking it out against mighty moonlight from a waning gibbous moon.

The annual Perseid meteor shower is popular among local amateur stargazers as it is visible to the naked eye from anywhere in the country. "And that happens every middle of August as Earth passes through the debris tale from the Comet Swift-Tuttle". But Saturday night into Sunday morning should be good, too.

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Astronomers are projecting a slightly higher than normal rate of 150 meteors per hour across the country.

Prepare to sit for a few hours, as the longer you stay, the better you'll see as it can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark. "Instead of 80 to 100, (there will be) 40 to 50 per hour".

The Perseid meteors pose no threat to Earth.

Named after the Perseus constellation, the Perseid meteor shower comprises celestial debris falling from space through the Earth's atmosphere. You won't be seeing as many meteors an hour, but you'll be able to see more of them than if they're washed out by the moon's light. He further added, "The best Perseid performance of which we are aware occurred back in 1993 when the peak Perseid rate topped 300 meteors per hour".

What's best about the Perseids is they can be enjoyed during summer's warmth, unlike the often nippy nights during the Leonids of November or Geminids of December. Cloud forecasts show partly to mostly cloudy skies each evening. That means about 86 percent of the moon will be illuminated, shining a light in the night sky that may upstage the Perseids. The meteors are actually tiny dust and particles from the tail of the comet as it orbits around the sun.

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