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Watch Live: The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

12 Aug 2016, 01:17 UTC
Watch Live: The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
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The Perseids are expected to offer one of the best meteor showers in years.

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to produce up to 200 meteors per hour when it peaks in the early morning hours on Friday, providing skywatchers with one of the best meteor shower shows in years.

The Perseids are an annual meteor shower that typically peaks between August 11-12. The meteor shower’s name comes from the constellation Perseus, where the meteors appear to originate from in the night sky. The Perseids are tiny pieces of icy debris that are left in the trail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.

“Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12,” Bill Cooke from NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office said in a statement. “Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour.”

The Perseids typically produce around 50-100 meteors per hour in any given year. However, this year Earth is expected to pass through the debris trail closer to its center making for a stellar display of cosmic fireworks. The best viewing will opportunity will be from around midnight until dawn on Friday.

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