Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend!

Perseid meteor shower

The Perseids are always popular with skywatchers, and this year's show could be especially dazzling - in part, experts say, because the crescent moon will have set and there will be no moonlight to wash out the fainter meteors.

This month, our skies will be lit up with yet another celestial spectacle: the Perseid meteor shower, the shower NASA calls the 'best of the year'.

This meteor shower and others can be seen in a time lapse from space in an interactive map provided with data from NASA Ames Researcher Peter Jenniskens. But for those who want to experience the meteor shower amped up to 11, getting to a "dark sky park" is an absolute must.

While a falling meteorite can be seen any night of the year, it's this weekend when the sky puts on a show as the Earth passes through the stream of the comet.

People can view the meteors streaming across the sky anywhere away from downtown Lawrence.

Once evening falls Sunday, expect to see a meteor, or a "shooting star", streaking across the sky every few minutes.

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To make the best of the meteors, observers should avoid built-up areas and try to find an unobstructed view to the east.

If you intend to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, be sure to watch between midnight and dawn.

So if you're lucky enough to have a chance of catching the Perseid meteor shower, it sounds like you'll be in for a spectacular night of skywatching.

Each time Swift-Tuttle passes through the warmth of the inner solar system, its frozen, 16-mile-wide nucleus releases debris along the comet's path - through which the Earth passes each summer.

The Perseids appear to emanate from between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, but to catch them there's really no need to worry about which direction you're looking. Debris from the tail end of this comet hits our atmosphere at around 132,000 miles per hour and burns up before it makes contact with the surface of the Earth. Let your eyes adjust to the dark for about 30 minutes to get the fullest experience. They were there, you just couldn't see them then. This year, the viewing opportunities are about as good as they can get.

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