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Perseid Meteor Shower courtesy NASA-JPL

Perseid Peaking With Double The Streaking

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE — The 2016 Perseid meteor shower is upon us, and the excitement is about to double. At its usual yearly peak, the Perseid can rain down up to 100 meteors per hour. This year, astronomers say we can look forward to twice that, with an outburst at its peak of about 200 meteors per hour.

Associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseid meteor shower will be visible tonight, but the very best time to watch is from midnight until just before dawn on the night of Thursday, Aug. 11 to the morning of August 12. It’s been going on all month, and that’s when the shower is expected to be the most active. From the Northern Hemisphere, look to the northeast sky just after midnight. The radiant point is located in the constellation Perseus just below Cassiopeia.

Experts say to sit in a moon shadow in an open area. The moon is at its quarter point so the viewing should be good once La Luna sets and before the sun rises. Even the early evening offers an opportunity to see some cosmic entertainment, as the possibility of earthgrazers exists. Earthgrazers are long, slow, horizontal streaks of colorful light that can only be seen in the earlier evening hours.

Since it takes human eyes about 20 minutes to adjust in the dark, serious Perseid-viewers can plan for at least an hour of sky-watching for best results. No special equipment or knowledge is necessary. Just decide where you’re going to go, go there, and look up. Being able to watch a party in the sky is one of the best aspects of living in the foothills. Enjoy.

Source: www.EarthSky.org

Image: NASA

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