Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Research | By Francis Brooks

Look up! Perseid meteor shower lighting up the sky this weekend

Look up! Perseid meteor shower lighting up the sky this weekend

The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is taking place this weekend.

In the Astronomical League guidebook "Observe Meteors", astronomers David Levy and Stephen Edberg wrote, "We have seen Perseids coming in such rapid succession that counting and recording were hard, followed by slack periods with little activity".

It's perhaps the easiest meteor shower for casual sky-watchers to see, given the bearable temperatures of August evenings, Henderson said. Astronomy Magazine recommends getting up early to try viewing the shower in the last dark hour before dawn, but it's worth looking up at any hour after dusk. In rural areas, the showers should be visible within a few minutes. 60 to 100 meteors are expected to be visible every hour.

Meteors in general are small particles of dust - some as small as grains of sand - entering the Earth's atmosphere at a high speed, according to the Royal Astronomical Society.

"Sky gazers just need to look to the northeast to observe the Perseid showers", Dr Marzouk suggested. But when comets come close to the heat of the Sun, their ice melts and the remaining matter (the meteoroids) is left behind in the orbit of the comet.

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Locally, Natural Bridge is offering an opportunity to watch the meteor shower between 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Saturday.

The shower occurs every year between July 17 and August 24, and tends to peak around August 9 to 13.

How to watch the Perseids Meteor Shower in India? No special equipment is needed, but if you want the best view, it helps to be as far from artificial light as possible. The Perseids have a track record of being "moderately bright" as they streak across the sky. This weekend will also bring a new moon, which will make the skies extra dark.

A number of planets will also be highly visible.

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