Are You Ready for the 2013 Perseid Meteor Shower?

Viewers should be able to observe 100 "shooting stars" hourly during the Perseid Meteor Shower from Aug. 11 to 12. You can also watch live with NASA, which calls it "the best meteor shower of the year."

Written by Beatrice Karnes

The Perseid meteor shower is already underway and will continue through Aug. 24. The peak viewing will be Aug. 11–12. Stargazers could see upward of 60 meteorites flash before them per hour.

According to Astronomy.com, the Perseid Meteor shower has some added bonuses this year: It will occur on a night when the moon is in its waning crescent phase, which means the moonlight will interfere only slightly with your view of the meteors.

You don't even need a telescope. Just spread out a blanket, perhaps a late-night picnic, lay back and enjoy!  

Perseid Meteor Trivia:

  • Mankind has looked up at the Perseids for nearly 2,000 years.
  • The Perseids are remnants of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun every 133 years.
  • These bits of comet "ice and dust" are more than 1,000 years old.
  • These meteors travel 37 miles per second.
  • The Perseids can be seen all over the sky, but the best viewing opportunities will be across the northern hemisphere.
  • Those with sharp eyes will see that the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Perseus, which forms an inverted "Y" shape and is in the northeast.
  • Some of the meteorites are as small as a grain of sand, but they have the kinetic energy of a nuclear bomb.
  • If you see a very slow, bright object sailing across the sky, it's either a satellite or a Space Station.

Where and how to view:

  • The best time to view will be Aug. 11 and 12.
  • Avoid city lights. The further you get from town, the better your view will be.

The shower is expected to be visible between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. NASA is running a live chat during the shower.

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