You Should Definitely Try to See the Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight

James Marshall
August 13, 2017

The meteors, mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, burn up as they hit the atmosphere at 58 kilometres (36 miles) per second to produce a shooting stream of light in the sky.

The Perseids were the first meteor shower to be linked to a comet when astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli spotted their association with Swift-Tuttle in 1862.

Because the meteors are coming approximately from the direction of the Perseus constellation (thus the name Perseid), look between the northeastern horizon and the point right above you. Tonight between 9 pm and the early hours of tomorrow are when the best of the showers can be seen. The meteors are made of tiny dust and other particles from the tail of the comet as it orbits around the sun.

According to Space.com, "Typical rates are about 80 meteors an hour, but in outburst years (such as in 2016), the rate can be between 150-200 meteors an hour", NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke said.

In August of 2018, the Perseid meteor shower will be pretty incredible, as the peak night for seeing it will coincide with a new moon. Light pollution can make it more hard to see the shower.

Robin Scagell, vice president of the Society for Popular Astronomy said: "We can look forward to a decent display, even though they aren't going to be raining down from the sky". You will also want to be patient.

In Monroe County, the Florida Keys Astronomy Club is heading to Long Key State Park, mile marker 67.4 oceanside, to view the Perseids.

Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar are the best places to watch the shower because of the low rate of light pollution and clear sky-view without any urban light pollution.

"Be sure to be patient when looking for the meteors", Dr. James Hackley, an optometrist with Gemini Eye Care, said.

The greatest meteor shower in US history occurred with the Leonids on November 12, 1833, with 20 to 30 meteors reported per second.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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