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It’s time to point your eyes to the sky once again because the Perseid meteor shower is upon us, which according to NASA is considered “the best meteor shower of the year.”
Not only do the shooting stars produce approximately 50 to 100 meteors per hour, but the super fast, bright balls leave “wakes” of light and color in their trail as they streak across Earth’s atmosphere.
The Perseids are also known for their fireballs, making the stars appear brighter and faster compared to the average meteor streak due to its derivation from larger particles of cometary material.
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Like all meteor showers, the fiery stars originate from their parent comet — and for the Perseids, that would be Comet Swift-Tuttle. The showers produce an incredible starry spectacle when they reach their peak.
“That’s the moment when the Earth passes through the heart of the stream of dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle,” science astrophotographer and astronomer Dr. Darren Baskill told Science Focus Magazine.
From when they will peak to how to watch, here’s everything to know about the 2022 Perseid meteor shower.
When does the Perseid meteor shower peak?
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This year, the Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak at 1:00 a.m. local time on Aug. 13 — but the early hour on Saturday morning isn’t the only chance for you to try and catch a glimpse of the starry spectacle!
The Perseids started on July 17 and will remain active through Aug. 24, giving stargazers several chances to watch the celestial spectacle. In fact, it might be best to catch the shooting stars on an off night due to the full Sturgeon Moon that will be in effect.
For prime views, it’s best to look up at the sky on a crystal-clear night away from any light pollution, allowing for the stars to really pop.
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When to watch the Perseid meteor shower?
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While watching the showers at their peak is expected to grant stargazers the most meteors, EarthSky.com suggests looking up from late evening until early dawn at the beginning of August for the Perseids.
“Also note that the Perseids strengthen in number as late night deepens into the wee hours of the morning,” the space outlet reports. “Watch on multiple mornings, until the waxing moon – brighter each night, and up for more hours – drives you back inside.”
Viewers can expect to catch a meteor “every minute or two during the peak hours – and they move quickly!” Baskill told Science Focus Magazine.
Where does the Perseid meteor shower appear in the sky?
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Like all meteor showers, they appear to shoot from their radiant — the point in the sky from which the stars seem to come from. Typically, they fly high near their corresponding constellation. For the Perseids, that star cluster is known as the Perseus constellation, which “follows the brighter and more distinctive constellation Cassiopeia,” per Space.com.
Before you go and invest in a star map, meteor showers most often can be viewed all over the night sky, despite appearing to radiate from their corresponding constellation.
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What meteor shower comes after the Perseids?
Following the Perseid meteor shower is the Orionids, a mid-strength shower that can produce 10-20 stars at maximum, according to the American Meteor Society. They are set to start on Sept. 26 and remain active until Nov. 22. The Orionids are expected to peak between late night on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 early morning.