Published: Mon, August 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Prime viewing awaits observers of this year’s Perseid meteor shower

Prime viewing awaits observers of this year’s Perseid meteor shower

Kentuckians and those living all across the USA will experience a 'new moon.' So, that will mean less light from the moon to interfere with overnight viewing of Perseid activity. This creates the meteor shower, or the appearance of "shooting stars". Stargazers expect a similar outburst in this week's Perseid meteor shower, which will be visible overnight on August 11-13.

Perseid meteors tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. These apps can identify many constellations and planets in the sky, many of which may have otherwise gone unnoticed. The Perseid are essentially a collection of dust and small rocks left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

And while they take his name, the meteors don't actually come from the stars in the Perseus constellation, which are hundreds of light-years away.

The shower runs from July 17 to August 24, however, it peaks from 4 pm on August 12 until 4 am on August 13 Eastern Daylight Time. This year's Perseid meteor shower will be highly visible both Saturday and Sunday night, giving watchers ample opportunity to spot plenty of shooting stars. Unless conditions are almost ideal, meteor showers can be a tremendous disappointment. The best time for viewing will fall on the nights between 11 August and 13 August, although the evening of 12 August will optimal, with experts suggesting that up to 100 meteors per hour will be visible. Three years later, an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaperelli identified the comet as the origin of the Perseid meteor shower. If it's a clear night, everyone should be able to see it, but this august is a different.

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Accuweather recommends viewers "Lay on your back and watch the whole sky, not just the radiant point, and avoid looking at your phone and other light sources", when viewing the meteor shower.

The reason for the meteor shower: Earth is passing through the debris path from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Your rooftop may not be the best solution, especially if you're in downtown (you need to get as far away from light pollution as possible).

Watching meteors is a fun way to introduce friends and family to the enjoyment of the heavens. Our advice? Bring a rug, a flask of tea (or, you know, whiskey - pick your poison) and some insect repellent, and get gazing.

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