This weekend the Perseid meteor shower will be reaching its peak and can be observed by those who rise early or those willing to stay up all night. Best viewing is on the northeast horizon after midnight.
The annual meteor shower is caused by the cloud of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun every 133 years. As Earth passes through the cloud of debris, bits of ice and dirt—some as old as 1,000 years —burn up in earth’s atmosphere, causing the celestial event commonly known as a meteor shower.
This year, the shower peaks on Saturday and unfortunately coincides with the full moon, which will make observing the shooting stars difficult. However, catching a glimpse of the light show will not be impossible and the best opportunity to do so will be during the predawn hours of Saturday and Sunday morning.
According to NASA, the full moon will wash out all but the brightest of the meteors. Their rates are estimated to be about 20 to 30 per hour at most, weather permitting.
For those who wish to view the show live from the comfort of home, NASA will activate cameras and a chat module during the shower’s peak that will allow participants to ask questions from experts as they view the Perseid’s meteor shower live. The cameras went online at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday and will on through the weekend. NASA chat link HERE.
Live video from your iPhone using Ustream
Looks like I’ll be up late or up early, maybe both, to watch the Perseid meteor show, love this stuff.