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Perseid meteor shower occurs this weekend

Published August 10. 2012 05:02PM

A meteor shower occurring this weekend has sky watchers hopeful for starry nights.

The Perseid meteor shower will be best tomorrow morning - weather permitting - but also will have some shooting stars present Sunday and Monday mornings.

According to, after midnight is the best time for meteor-watching. The moon will be there, but getting thinner every morning.

On the mornings (not the evenings) of August 11, 12 and 13, the moon will be a waning crescent, and the meteors should be flying at a rate closer to their peak of 50 or 60 meteors per hour, the Web site says.

As an added treat - on August 11, 12 and 13 - the moon will be sweeping past the brightest planets Venus and Jupiter in the eastern predawn sky.

The Perseid meteor shower consists of objects that are tiny bits of rock and debris from an old comet, which is named Swift-Tuttle after the astronomers who discovered it in 1862.

Every year in early August, Earth passes through the comet Swift-Tuttle's orbit and sweeps up some of this debris. As the tiny rocks encounter the thin upper atmosphere of the Earth, the air is heated to incandescence and we see a rapid streak of light.

It's best to view meteor showers away from street lights and buildings. However, so bright are the Perseids that they can be seen from most back yards.

For the best viewing, it's best to go to rural areas or atop high elevations.

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