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Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend - here’s how to watch

10 August 2018

The Perseid's shooting stars are caused by debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet (Photo: Shutterstock)What are the Perseids?

During the maximum, or peak, Sunday night and early Monday morning, it could be possible to catch as many as 110 meteors in an hour, or almost two per minute on average. The number will then start to diminish, though higher-than-average meteor activity associated with the Perseids should be visible through August 24.

The meteors will appear to come from the direction of the Perseus constellation in the north-eastern part of the sky, although they should be visible from any point.

It's the biggest meteor shower of the year, so you better stay up late and grab your binoculars.

Comet Swift-Tuttle - photographed here on April 4, 1892 (top) and April 6, 1892 (bottom) - whizzes through our solar system every 133 years, leaving a trail of dust and debris behind it.

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Bill Cooke - NASA meteor expertHow many meteors will we see?

The shower that we see from Earth is the little bits of ice and dust - that are usually no bigger than a pea - hitting the Earth's atmosphere at a staggering 134,000 miles per hour.

The best time to view the Perseids is around midnight and during the early hours of the morning - up until 5.30am - when light pollution is at its lowest.

The best summertime meteor shower - the Perseids - will be coming to a sky near you this coming weekend, weather permitting.

With a new moon providing an extra-dark backdrop to the spectacle, the shooting stars will be brighter than ever.

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You will be in for a treat as this means roughly one per minute.

While you'll get the best meteor rates in a rural area, far from light pollution, you still might be able to see some meteors from a city or suburb.

Once darkness falls on August 12, sky-watchers can expect to see one of the shooting stars every few minutes.

If you're unable to see the Perseids this year in person, you can always watch them online.

As the particles, ranging in size from a grain of sand to a pea, hit the Earth's atmosphere at 37 miles per second, they burn up and streak across the sky.

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