The Perseid meteor shower will peak this weekend, beginning Sunday night. The display occurs every year in the middle of August.
The meteor shower is the result of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. The comet has not been in our inner solar system since 1992. However, it created a dust cloud that is visible from Earth once a year.
As reported by NBC News, Earth passes through the cloud every August. The Perseid meteor shower is known for occasionally producing especially bright meteors, called fireballs. The phenomenon has led to the nickname of “Fireball Champion.”
Ideally, the skies should be dark and free of clouds. For best viewing, it is important to get away from the lights of big cities. Experts suggest laying on the ground and looking straight up into the sky. Viewers should focus on an area free of stars or satellites.
The shower will begin peaking after midnight on Sunday. If conditions are ideal, viewers could see up to 100 meteors per hour.
According to Accuweather, the conditions may not be ideal for most US residents. A weather front could cause cloud cover for a large portion of the central US.
Viewers in Northeastern and Southwestern states will have the best chance to see the meteor shower, if the weather pattern holds.
The Perseid meteor shower is considered the best time to see a shooting star. As reported by The Guardian, Earth travels through approximately 64 meteor showers every year. However, the Perseid is by far the most active, vivid, and bright.
The meteor shower gets it name from the constellation Perseus. The meteors are often seen originating from within the constellation. Despite the name, experts do not recommend focusing on Perseus when looking for the meteors.
Although the forecast is not ideal, the event is highly anticipated. Viewing the Perseid meteor is the perfect way to spend a Summer evening.
[Image via Flickr]