Look Up! Perseid Meteor Shower To Light Up The Sky

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The Perseids happen each year as Earth passes through the trail of dust left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, which makes a full orbit of the sun every 133 years.

If people know where Cassiopeia - a W-shaped constellation in the northeast sky - is located, they can find the Perseid meteors just below it beginning about 11 p.m. Saturday night.

In popular parlance the Perseids are often known as the "Lágrimas de San Lorenzo" (tears of Saint Lawrence), partly because the feast day of this Saint is on 10th August.

Capturing the fleeting light show requires some luck as meteors quickly strike through the starry skies.

The most active meteor shower in the calendar will be at its peak on Sunday night (August 12) until Tuesday (August 14).

A glorious display of Perseid meteors is set to light up the skies over the United Kingdom on Sunday night.

The meteor shower will grow more spectacular through the weekend with top performance between midnight and dawn Sunday and Monday.

How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend
2018 Perseids Meteor Shower

NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras is already picking up strong activity over the US, counting 37 Perseid fireballs during the weekend of August 4th-5th.

During the peak, it's possible to count 50 to 100 meteors per hour.

The shower is the result of Earth encountering the gritty debris of Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

August begins with the moon in the third quarter, and the new moon and best stargazing time will occur on Aug. 11. A folding chair is useful to get off your feet if you are waiting around to the wee hours to catch the best sights of the night sky. It only takes a small amount of light to ruin night vision and it will take your eyes about 30 minutes to adjust to the dark.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be? While it's unlikely anyone living today will ever see this comet when it returns in 2126, we can still witness its effect on the solar system, and our planet, with the annual Perseids meteor shower.

Other chances to view shooting stars this year include the Orionids in October and the Leonids in November, both of which produce approximately 15 meteors per hour in moonless, dark skies.

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