Perseid meteor shower: how to see shooting stars this weekend

Perseid Meteor Shower 2018

If stargazers miss the show on Saturday, they also can look for it again beginning at about 11 p.m. on Sunday night. During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, casting a shadow on planet Earth. The number will then start to diminish, though higher-than-average meteor activity associated with the Perseids should be visible through August 24.

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.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is caused by the dust and debris trailing the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun approximately every 133 years.

Swift-Tuttle measures a massive 16 miles, and last passed by Earth in 1992.

Although we won't see the comet itself, we will still witness the trail of debris left by it.

Bill Cooke - NASA meteor expertHow many meteors will we see?

This Perseid meteor shower will take place during a almost new moon-meaning it won't interfere with the show-and is expected to be the best meteor shower this year.

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Why is it considered the best of the year?

Although the shower peaks on August 12, you'll be able to see a good deal of shooting stars all weekend and into Monday. As the cosmic junk - many the size of a grain of sand - enters the atmosphere, it burns up in a flash, appearing as "shooting stars" across the sky.

You will be in for a treat as this means roughly one per minute.

According to Jolene Creighton at Quarks to Quasars, the meteors you'll be able to see during the meteor shower's peak each hour will be blasting into Earth's atmosphere at speeds of around 209,000 kilometres per hour (130,000 miles per hour).

The Perseids, one of the best meteor showers of the year, will peak this weekend, and depending where you are the viewing conditions could be great.

If you're interested in the best possible views of the show should set up shop somewhere dark-with no light pollution or large buildings-where much of the sky is visible.

"If you have seen a few of them you have seen them all", he said.

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