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Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight


Sky gazers are anticipating this year's Perseid meteor shower, which takes place Aug. 12 through Aug. 13. 

The Perseids come from the Comet Swift Tuttle, which leaves remnants when it swings through the inner solar system. When earth passes through that debris, "specks appear in the skies and disintegrate in flashes of light, " says NASA

But this year's Perseids, which became active in July, coincides with a full moon. On Aug. 10, the world saw this year's third Supermoon, making the fire streaks harder to see. 

On a normal year, up to 100 streaks per hour is possible during the peak. This year, scientists expecte about 30-40 streaks per hour. NASA has some viewing tips on how to watch the meteor shower Aug. 12. 

Viewing Tips

The Perseids are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the pre-dawn hours, though at times it is possible to view meteors from this shower as early as 10:00 p.m.. Find an area well away from city or street lights. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing northeast and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors. Be patient -- the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.

Meteor Shower Facts

  • Comet of Origin: 109P/Swift-Tuttle
  • Radiant: Constellation Perseus
  • Active: 17 July -- 24 Aug. 2014
  • Peak Activity: 12-13 Aug. 2014
  • Meteor Velocity: 59 km (37 miles) per second

NASA is hosting a live chat starting at 8 p.m. Pacific time.

A video stream of the skies from the Marshall Space Flight Center is also available starting at 6:30 p.m.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

-Capital Public  Radio Staff

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