Adventure Arkansas: Perseid Meteor Shower

Adventure Arkansas: Perseid Meteor Shower

Why is it considered the best of the year?

Some years we aren't as lucky because the peak is during a full moon, and the moonlight drowns out the show.

The Perseid Meteor Shower is set to light up the night sky this weekend. But you don't need to stare at Perseus to spot meteors - in fact, it may be better to simply stare unfocused into the sky and let your more-sensitive peripheral vision do the heavy lifting.

When can I see it?

The shower runs from July 17 to August 24, however, it peaks from 4 pm on August 12 until 4 am on August 13 Eastern Daylight Time. These meteors entering the earth's atmosphere are typically only the size of a grain of sand and rarely reach the ground.

The Perseids will be best seen on Monday morning around 2am local time, when the Perseid radiant is high up in the sky.

This year's shower will be putting on its best display for those in Europe, but as it's peak last so long, from the 11th to 12th, it should also put on a spectacular display for the USA and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. "If you end up in the constellation Perseus, there's a good chance you've seen a Perseid".

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And don't forget to grab your camera before you head out.

Timeanddate.com provides tables indicating when the showers are active and even gives some nice tips on how to best watch the performance. They aren't very bright, so you have to get out of the city lights to see them.

In a similar way the Geminid meteor shower in December appears to originate from the constellation Gemini. However, with a little planning and some patience, you can get some truly memorable images.

Where do the Perseids come from?

On the other hand, if Perseid meteors were only visible for a few days or hours each year, this would suggest Comet Swift-Tuttle is a young visitor to the inner solar system because its debris has yet to spread much outside the comet's original path.

The basic idea behind the annual meteor shower begins with a comet - basically a large ball of frozen ice and rocks that travels around the sun.

A tent stands out against the starlit sky during the Perseid meteor shower on August 14, 2016 in Terlingua, Texas.

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