Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend - here’s how to watch


The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that peaks in early-to-late August.

The Perseid's shooting stars are caused by debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet (Photo: Shutterstock)What are the Perseids?

The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear, known as the radiant, lies in the constellation of Perseus.

The Perseids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere in the pre-dawn hours. "You can look anywhere you want to-even directly overhead", explained Jones.

The Perseids are set to peak late Sunday, August 12 into the early morning of Monday, August 13, but the spectacle is already beginning to heat up in the dark, mostly moonless evenings.

One of the best meteor showers of the year peaks this weekend, and with any luck, you should be able to catch at least a few of the shooting stars for yourself. It last greeted us in 1992 and will next pass in 2126, but we travel through the comet's dust every year, making the Perseid Meteor Shower an annual event.

The Perseids appear to emanate from between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, but to catch them there's really no need to worry about which direction you're looking.

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When is the best time to see the meteor shower?

"As long as you have clear skies and you're away from the city, you should have a good show".

In August 2016, the shower produced about 150 meteors an hour and in 2009, the estimated peak was about 173 but some of the fainter meteors could have been washed out by Moonlight.

"Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness", Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope senior editor said in a statement.

So when is the Perseid meteor shower?

During the maximum, or peak, Sunday night and early Monday morning, it could be possible to catch as many as 110 meteors in an hour, or almost two per minute on average.

The comet that left the Perseid meteor stream is a piece of dirty ice about 26km in diameter called 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

Dim meteors appear as a momentary flash of light while the brighter ones leave a glowing streak.