Perseids meteor shower: How to watch the spectacular phenomenon in the US and when is it?

It is considered the best meteor shower of the year, and it’s set to reach its peak later this week.

The Perseids are known for being fast and bright meteors and often leave long “wakes” of light and color as they flash across the night sky, says NASA.

The shower, which is renowned for it fireballs, travels at around 37 miles per second and this week sky-gazers could see up 100 meteors per hour.

NASA says the fireballs are “larger explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak”.

The space agency says it is “considered the best meteor shower of the year” and are most visible in the pre-dawn hours but can be seen as early as 10pm.

The Perseids are viewable in the Northern Hemisphere from mid-July to the end of August, and will peak between 11 and 12 August.

Experts say that the very high point of the shower will come in the early hours of Thursday 12 August, with the best viewing window between 11pm on 11 August and 3am on 12 August.

Meteors are leftover particles from comets and broken asteroids, and when comets come around the sun they leave a trail of rocks behind them.

When the Earth passes annually through this trail, pieces of it collide with the planet’s atmosphere and as they burn up create the celestial display.

NASA says the Perseids originate from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which takes 133 years to orbit the Earth and last visited the inner solar system in 1992.

The shower takes its name from the Perseus constellation, the point in the sky from which it appears.

“The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50 to 100 meteors seen per hour) and occur with warm summer nighttime weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view them,” said NASA in a Northern Hemisphere explainer.

For the best viewing experience aim for an area that is low on light pollution and does not have cloudy weather.


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