Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend - here’s how to watch


If you're planning on watching the Perseid meteor shower, bear in mind that it will take at least 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. And conditions for viewing the meteors will be next to flawless this year.

The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that peaks in early-to-late August.

'This year the Moon will not be up there around the Perseid's peak, so it will not contaminate the sky with its light: so, the sky will be dark and meteors will be visible much better, provided you will go under a reasonably dark sky, ' astronomer Gianluca Masi told Metro. However, they can be seen clearest after sunset.

Last year's shower was especially active, delivering up to 150 meteors an hour expected at its height, and while this year the shooting stars won't be quite as regular, stargazers can still expect to see around 70 of them an hour. Though the shower hasn't yet reached its peak, observers have already reported spotting short bursts of high meteor activity (15 meteors per minute) at times, as well as significant meteor activity (~100) over several hours.

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.

All you'll really need to do is crane your head upwards.

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There's a unique opportunity to watch what may look like shooting stars putting on a show this weekend.

Every year, in mid-August, Earth passes collides with particles spread along the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Those bits of cosmic dust fall into our atmosphere, creating the bright streaks we see as meteors in the night sky.

What else should I look out for in the sky?

Though the Perseids can be spotted between July 17 and August 24, the best views will be from Sunday at 4 Monday at 4 a.m. EST, when the night is almost moonless. The number of Perseids zipping across the sky should increase steadily through the night, peaking just before sunrise.

When is the next meteor shower?

But the most spectacular long-lasting meteors, known as "Earthgrazers", can be seen when the radiant is still low above the horizon.