Perseid meteor shower: how to see shooting stars this weekend


The shower is expected to peak on the night of Sunday August 12, though Saturday and Monday will also offer excellent views.

If you happen to be in a light-pollution-free area with nice weather, you'll probably be able to see about 60 or 70 meteors streaking through the moonless sky, according to NASA estimates.

You can watch the meteor shower on the Virtual Telescope Project's website starting from August 12.

If you're unable to stay up late on those days, try Saturday night. An enjoyable number of meteors will be visible - and you can sleep late the next morning. And, with NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke dubbing the Perseids "the best shower of the year", this certainly isn't one to miss.

According to Space, this August during the peak, there should be about 60 to 70 meteors per hour, although past year saw about 80 an hour.

A tent stands out against the starlit sky during the Perseid meteor shower on August 14, 2016 in Terlingua, Texas. Look to the northeast about 40 degrees off the horizon. More meteors are visible the higher this radiant rises.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the dust and debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, bringing pieces of the comet into the upper atmosphere that light up the sky as they burn up. The summer Perseids originate from the comet Swift-Tuttle.

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This is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by our planet. That's why some people call them shooting stars, but they have nothing to do with stars.

Part of the reason the Perseids really sizzle in the summer sky in the northern hemisphere isn't the seasonal heat, but rather their speed, which can be almost 60 kilometers per second (134,000 miles per hour).

Dim meteors appear as a momentary flash of light while the brighter ones leave a glowing streak.

If you're counting meteors, notice there are times when numerous meteors are visible followed by a near absence of activity.

The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere.

I'm often asked what part of the sky is best to watch. But you don't need to stare at Perseus to spot meteors - in fact, it may be better to simply stare unfocused into the sky and let your more-sensitive peripheral vision do the heavy lifting.