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Look Up For The Perseids

meteorite from orbit
The astronauts on the International Space Station always have a good view of meteor showers. (NASA Photo)

Little grains of sand making huge light displays. It’s time again for the annual Perseid meteor shower.

We’re in the peak of the shower Thursday through Saturday…even Sunday.

Every August, our planet passes through leftover debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris, while tiny, is dense. Occasionally, the Perseids really gang up on us – such as in 1998 and 1999, when there were over 1,000 meteor trails per hour. John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High mentions “I have seen the fire in the sky.” He was singing about the Perseids.

Normally, the show is a more relaxed 90 per hour or less. But, the fun thing about this meteor shower is the occasional “big one.” Fireballs can happen, and they are incredible to see.

When to view? After midnight until dawn – because that part of the Earth is facing toward the debris, like a car windshield. With the moon coming up around 2 or 3 a.m., limit your “awake time” to midnight to 2 a.m. on Friday or Saturday and you should see a few.

Unless it’s too smoky!!!

Some years, I’ve not seen any Perseids. Other years have been memorable. But, I’ve always tried to make time to look. You gotta take a chance.

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