It's one of the more well known cosmic displays of the year and this year's peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower is just around the corner. This year's peak is expected to occur this weekend on Saturday and Sunday night (August 11th-12th & August 12th-13th).
If you're unfamiliar with the Perseids, they show up every year in August when Earth ventures through trails of debris left behind by an ancient comet (Swift-Tuttle), according to NASA. When Earth passes through the debris, specks of the debris hit the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrate into flashes of light, giving us the Perseids. The peak occurs when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area.
The show is always a great view assuming the weather cooperates, but this year is expected to be even more special as the moon will be near its new moon stage, meaning it will set early and leave behind a darker sky for viewing. This combination of the event's peak and moon-free nights won't be seen again until 2021.
NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke told Space.com that the shower should feature 60 to 70 meteors per hour at this years peak. He also believes the second night (August 12th-13th) will be the better night of the two.
According to Earthsky.org, the meteors start out slowly in the evening and begin to pick up steam after midnight, putting out the greatest numbers in the dark hours before dawn, around 2 AM. If you're able to find some time to take in the event, all you need to do is find a dark place and give your eyes around 30 minutes to adjust.
The weather for Saturday night and Sunday night looks promising for now. Skies may not be completely clear, but partly cloudy conditions appear to be a reasonable expectation at this time. Of course, as we get closer, we'll be sure to update you. Low temperatures both nights should be in the comfortable upper 50s and low 60s.
Delta College Planetarium is offering a special star party at the Bay City State Park to look for the meteor shower. Reporter Coty Kuschinsky spoke with the astronomer and planetarium manager for Delta. Check out her Facebook live video.
Keep an eye on that forecast all week long with your First Warn 5 7-Day Forecast!
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