Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Look up for the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

Look up for the Perseid meteor shower this weekend

The annual Perseid meteor shower is set to hit its full viewing potential and rain down an abundance of "shooting stars" Sunday night into Monday morning. This is typically one of the best meteor showers viewable from Missouri.

According to NASA, the meteor shower peaks from 4 p.m. (EDT) on the August 12 until 4 a.m. on the August 13.

You won't be able to see as many meteors when you're in a place with light pollution, which includes most of America. "If you were to draw the lines of the meteors and connect them back to where they started, they all seem to radiate from the constellation Perseus", she said.

Around this time every year, Earth ventures into the wake of an ancient comet called Swift-Tuttle, which leaves behind trillions of particles.

Experts say the best views will be to the east, and observers should try to avoid built-up areas. According to Space.com, this year's peak will be visible both the nights of August 11-12 and August 12-13. The ice and dust, accumulating over a thousand years, burn up in our atmosphere to create the meteor shower.

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But meteor magnitudes work a little differently from star magnitudes, University of Chicago astronomy professor Leslie Rogers told Gizmodo, since the meteors also have streaks.

Patience is key. It can take up to 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark for optimal viewing.

Thankfully for United Kingdom watchers, this particular meteor shower favours the northern hemisphere - so we're in a prime spot to witness it. It's expected we could see 50 to 70 meteors per hour starting Saturday and Sunday night. If you're out looking for meteors in the city, it's worth finding the darkest spot you can, far from streetlights, and getting your eyes used to the dark for a half hour or so.

Some meteors could appear streaking across the sky for several seconds, leaving a trail of glowing smoke in their wake.

If you happen to be camping at a Provincial Park you likely picked the best weekend of the year.

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