NASA Chat: Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Perseids!

Watch the Perseids

Looking for a good reason to enjoy an August evening? This year's Perseid meteor shower peaks on the night of Friday, Aug. 12 and into the early morning of Saturday, Aug 13, The Perseids are considered the best meteor shower of the year by many, but with the full moon washing out all but the brightest meteors, rates will probably only be 20-30 per hour at most -- weather permitting.

The Perseids rate in the southern hemisphere is quite a bit lower, since the Perseid radiant doesn't climb above the horizon, The Perseids have been observed for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

Each year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of the comet's debris these bits of ice and dust -- most over 1,000 years old -- burn up in the Earth's atmosphere, The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors appear to radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

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