Don't miss the meteor shower


How to see the Perseid meteor shower peak this weekend

Half of watching a meteor shower is waiting around for them to appear.

The comet that left the Perseid meteor stream is a piece of dirty ice about 26km in diameter called 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

By around mid-August, the Earth crosses paths with the comet's orbital debris trail which spectacularly intensifies the meteor shower.

Skygazers can witness up to a whopping 60 and 70 meteors every hours.

The peak nights for this year's shower will be from August 11 to 12 and August 12 to 13, with more than 100 meteors visible per hour, according to Gary Boyle, an Ottawa-based astronomer. It orbits the sun every 133 years and was last seen in 1992 - so it won't be back again until 2126.

During these nights the moon will be in its crescent-shape, or "new moon" phase. Observers in mid-northern latitudes will have the best views.

Diana Hannikainen, observing editor of Sky & Telescope, said: "The moonless sky this year means the viewing will be excellent, and the shower's predicted peak is timed especially well for North America".

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"Remember, you don't have to look directly at the constellation to see them".

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the brightest and most active meteor showers in the lunar calendar.

The Perseid shower is named after the constellation of Perseus.

You won't need any special equipment to catch the shower, either.

They should start whizzing across the sky before midnight, but the best displays will be in the hours before dawn. "The Perseids will put on a great show". You can tell if a meteor is a Perseid by following its direction backwards and, if it's coming from the direction of Perseus, it's a Perseid. Just make sure you have a clear view of a large swathe of the sky and be patient.

While you'll get the best meteor rates in a rural area, far from light pollution, you still might be able to see some meteors from a city or suburb.

If you head out, do not forget to pack something warm for the night, snacks, drinks, blankets and give your eyes up to 30 minutes to adjust to the dark of night.

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