Beyond the Weather: Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Ismael LynchAug 10, 2018

As he was executed on August 10, many Catholics associate the Perseid meteor shower with St Lawrence, and dub the shooting stars as the "tears of St Lawrence" as they occur at the same time each year.

The number will then start to diminish, though higher-than-average meteor activity associated with the Perseids should be visible through August 24.

The Perseid meteor shower will burst into light throughout the month of August - but it's predicted to be at its best this weekend, according to NASA. It's all because of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, which zooms close to Earth during its 133-year journey around the sun.

"Comets are spectacular and attractive and take months to go across the sky but every time they go near the sun they are melted down a little bit". The August shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus because the meteors appear to originate there. During that optimum period you could see between 60 and 100 meteors per hour.

Since the Perseids always show up in August, they often coincide with warm summer nights - flawless weather for viewing if you can avoid rain or clouds and get to a dark spot. But even if you can't step outside a couple hours before the sun comes up, it's worth checking the sky in the late evening and early morning.

Cooke recommends steering clear of bright city lights in order to get the best view. That means staying away from urban areas if possible, as light pollution can dominate in cities.

While a falling meteorite can be seen any night of the year, it's this weekend when the sky puts on a show as the Earth passes through the stream of the comet. The annual Perseid meteor shower will be peaking this Saturday and Sunday night. So that's the part of the sky you should anchor your meteor search from, but they will scatter across the sky as shooting stars from there.

The meteor shower is made up of particles that crumbled away from the 26 kilometre (16 mile) wide comet as it zooms in and out of the inner Solar System.

"During a meteor shower the Earth collides with that debris and very small pieces burn up in the upper atmosphere creating the show".

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