Don't miss the meteor shower

The Perseids meteor shower will peak this weekend between the night of Saturday, August 11, and the morning of Monday, August 13.

Viewing here in West Michigan appears to be fair to good as of this writing.

An added bonus is that moonlight will not interfere with the spectacle this year. The Perseids happen every year, but this year's crescent moon will make the sky darker, allowing the meteors to shine.

You can watch the meteor shower on the Virtual Telescope Project's website starting from August 12.

As long as you're in the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower will be right overhead.

Once darkness falls on August 12, sky-watchers can expect to see one of the shooting stars every few minutes.

The Perseids can be witnessed in the northern sky whenever the meteors enter Earth's atmosphere throughout the day. "This major shower takes place during the lazy, hazy days of summer, when many families are on vacation", McClure said. Observers will be able to see between 60 and 70 meteors per hour during the peak.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, so no special equipment is needed, but those in rural areas with minimal light pollution will have a clearer view.

Unfortunately, you may have to stay up late or set your alarm for an early start if you want to spot the best of the display.

This year's shower will be putting on its best display for those in Europe, but as it's peak last so long, from the 11th to 12th, it should also put on a spectacular display for the U.S. and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. The Perseid are essentially a collection of dust and small rocks left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle.

The shooting stars will appear to come from a single point, or "radiant", situated in the constellation Perseus, that climbs higher as the night progresses. But don't go longer than that, otherwise you'll pick up the rotation of the stars, which could block out streaks from shooting stars, Cooke said.

The meteor shower will grow more spectacular through the weekend with top performance between midnight and dawn Sunday and Monday. The Perseids are best seen after 11 PM, away from city lights, and while looking at the northeastern sky.

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