Look up in the night sky next week on August 11, 12, and 13 for a celestial light show that you don't want to miss.

The Perseids meteor shower is currently underway, however the peak days to view them will be early next week. For those who don't know, The Perseids are are fragments of the comet Swift-Tuttle. Every year, the Earth passes near the path of the comet, and the debris left behind by Swift-Tuttle shows up as meteors in our sky, thus giving us a great view of the heavens. Many refer to these meteors as "shooting stars" which isn't entirely accurate since they aren't stars at all, but I get why they are known as such. In any event, you might want to start thinking of a lot of wishes because there's a good chance that you could see quite a few of these "shooting stars" next week.

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Between 60 and 100 meteors an hour could spark in the sky on peak night, which averages one or two every minute. That's a lot! I know some people who claim that they have never seen a "shooting star" before. Well, next week will be your chance to see a lot of them with the Perseids meteor shower. The peak nights to view these meteors will be on  August 11, 12, and 13 from midnight until dawn. These will be so visible that you won't need any equipment such as a telescope to see them. Just look up and wait for the show to start!

If you're going to want to see the meteor shower, here are a few tips:

  1. The best way to view the meteor shower (and to see the most meteors) is to get away from the lights of the city. Light pollution causes the night sky to be less visible.
  2. Go outside early to give your eyes some time to adjust to the dark—up to half an hour if you can.
  3. The Perseids will appear as quick, small streaks of light, so if you blink you could miss some.
  4. Get comfortable. Grab a nice chair and some refreshments. It's a show! What's a show without snacks and a drink?
  5. Be patient. There’s no way to predict exactly how many you’ll see or what time you'll see the most. Just set aside an hour or so to sit outside to look up and watch the magic unfold!
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Oh, and if you really want to see the Perseids meteor shower but think "there's always next year", you might be disappointed. According to NASA, this might be your best chance to see this awesome meteor shower for a few years because there will be a full moon during the Perseids’ peak in 2022 and a waning crescent high in the sky for 2023, which means the light from the moon will make the night sky less visible to things such as meteors and stars.

If you'd like to learn more about the Perseids, there are a few helpful links that you can check out to get a better idea of where to view them and more fun facts. EarthSky has some cook tips, and so does NASA. So check them out before next week.

 

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