LOOK UP! Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

LOOK UP! Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend!

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Earth is currently passing through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle and the best meteor shower of the year will happen this weekend as a result. 

The shower's peak will be visible both nights of August 11-12 and August 12-13, with NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke saying the August 12-13 show would be the better of the two. Although not an outburst year (150-200 meteors per hour) spectators should see about 60-70 meteors per hour this weekend. As a bonus, Mars and Saturn should also be easily viewable. 

For the best viewing, get yourself to a dark area. Go to the suburbs or the countryside away from the city lights. Give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness (about 30 minutes) and you should expect to see about 60-70 meteors per hour or about one per minute. 

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth. It has a nucleus of about 16 miles wide and last passed by Earth in 1992, however, Earth passes through the dust and debris it leaves behind every year, which is what creates the Perseid meteor shower. The comet debris heats up as it enters the atmosphere and burns up as it streaks across the sky at 37 miles per second! 

If a meteor makes it all the way to Earth without burning completely up, it graduates from a meteor to a meteorite, however, most of the meteors in the Perseids are about the size of a grain of sand and are much too small to make it to Earth. 

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