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Perseid meteor shower on deck: What you need to know



Stargazers are gearing up for a treat early Wednesday when the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks.

Perseid meteor shower occurs when fragments of comet Swift-Tuttle crash into Earth’s atmosphere. The asteroids began appearing in the sky late last month and will peak in the pre-dawn hours on August 12, NASA officials wrote in a blog post.

“Plan to stay up late on the night of August 11 or get up early on the morning of August 12,” wrote NASA officials. “Perseids are best seen between 2am local time and dawn. The moon rises around midnight, so its brightness will affect the peak view window.

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The Moon will reduce the number of visible meteors from 60 meteors per hour to 1

5 to 20 meteors per hour. “Although the phase and the presence of the Moon will keep the frequency of meteorites lower, there will be close to one meteor every two minutes in extreme times!” according to NASA.

A photographer holds a flashlight up into the night sky as Perseid meteor streaks cut through the sky in the Esme district of Usak, Turkey, on August 14, 2018.

A photographer holds a flashlight up into the night sky as Perseid meteor streaks cut through the sky in the Esme district of Usak, Turkey, on August 14, 2018.
(Soner Kilinc / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

The space agency said some Perseids will also show up after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“If it’s cloudless, choose an observation point away from the light, lie on your back and look up! According to NASA, you don’t need any special equipment to view Perseids – just your eyes. “Meteors can be seen all over the sky so don’t worry about looking in any particular direction.”

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A meteor streaks across the Milky Way in the night sky above Leeberg Hill during the Perseid meteor shower in Grossmugl, Austria, August 12, 2018.

A meteor streaks across the Milky Way in the night sky above Leeberg Hill during the Perseid meteor shower in Grossmugl, Austria, August 12, 2018.
(REUTERS / Heinz-Peter Bader)

Meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus, part of the sky, or ‘radiance’ where it appears.

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A streak from the Perseid meteor shower bud over the Mojave Desert as seen from Nevada State Route 164, also known as the Joshua Tree Expressway, about 10 miles west of Searchlight, Nevada., Early August 13, 2018.

A streak from Perseid meteor shower buds over the Mojave Desert as seen from Nevada State Route 164, also known as the Joshua Tree Expressway, about 10 miles west of Searchlight, Nevada., Early August 13, 2018.
(Richard Brian / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

A small fraction of asteroids or comets are also known as asteroids. When it enters Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor or a fireball or a meteor. Fragments of rock falling to the ground, valuable to collectors, are meteorites.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers




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