Perseid Meteor Shower to Dazzle Tonight

Viewers should be able to observe around 80 "shooting stars" per hour during this year's Perseid Meteor Shower.

People across the world have been inspired by NASA's recent Mars Curiosity Rover success.

And if you were one of those people inspired, now you have the chance to get an encore in space excitement—from the comfort of your backyard.

One of the biggest meteor showers of the year will happen this weekend, and it could be dazzling.

According to Astronomy.com, the Perseid Meteor shower will occur this weekend, peaking on Saturday night with roughly 80 "shooting starts" per hour. It also occurs on a night when the moon is in its waning crescent phase, which means the moonlight shouldn't greatly interfere with your view of the dashing meteors.

You don't even need a telescope.

Joel Weisberg, Stark Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the Natural Sciences at Carleton College, said you just need to find a good piece of land that doesn't have a lot of lights around.

“The darker the place the better,” he said.

He said not having a lot of trees around helps as well, and the later in the night your viewing time is the better the chance you have to see some action.

The peak will be late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Weisberg said said starting at 11 p.m. observers should be able to get a good view that gets better as the night goes on.

Saturday night's forecast calls for slightly cloudy skies in Northfield.

Another option is to head to Nerstand-Big Woods State Park, where the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering hosts a sky observation until 10 or 11 p.m. tonight. The event is free and open to the public.

And if you're interested in taking a good look at the sky at any other time,  Goodsell Observatory is open to the public the first Friday of each month.

Perseid Meteor Trivia:

  • These meteors travel 37 miles per second!
  • The best time to view will be 2 a.m. Sunday.
  • The Perseid Meteors are cast-offs of the Swift-Tuttle comet, according to Space.com.
  • The shower began July 23, and will peak on Saturday night. 
  • Look toward the Perseus constellation, which forms an inverted "Y" shape and is in the northeast.
  • Some of the meteroids 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 to view:

  • You don't need a telescope to view this celestial event, so just head out to a dark spot. 
  • Avoid city lights. The further you get from town, the better your view will be.
  • Join the NASA's Live Video/Audio Feed by clicking here. NASA will live stream the meteor shower as seen from atop the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville AL. Also experts will be online available to answer questions between 8 p.m. PDT and midnight.

If you snap a photo, e-mail it to corey.butler@patch.com or upload it to the Patch Pics and Clipspage. 

Mary101 August 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM
i never got the chance to see this :(, but if do i do saw it i bet it will be AMAZING
Mary101 August 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM
i never got the chance to see this :(, but if do i do saw it i bet it will be AMAZING
luke philps August 12, 2012 at 09:33 PM
i am waching it tonight it will be tank


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