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More than 100 shooting stars expected in weekend’s Perseid meteor shower peak

10 August 2018

The number will then start to diminish, though higher-than-average meteor activity associated with the Perseids should be visible through August 24.

The Perseids occur every year from mid-July to late August, when Earth passes through the wide band of debris left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle's various visits to our part of the galaxy.

NASA meteor expert, Bill Cooke, told "The moon is very favourable for the Perseids this year, and that'll make the Perseids probably the best shower for 2018 for people who want to go out and view it".

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.

You can help find a dark enough spot near you, using this atlas of artificial sky brightness. Stargazers should be able to see around 60-70 meteors per hour during the two peak nights.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, so no special equipment is needed, but those in rural areas with minimal light pollution will have a clearer view.

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What's great about the Perseids is they can be enjoyed during summer's warmth, unlike the often nippy nights during the Leonids of November or Geminids of December. But living in the Northwest means that many local elements are potentially conspiring against our view, including overcast skies, a bright moon, and smoke from surrounding wildfires. The Slooh observatory will host a livestream of the shower starting at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. The meteors will appear to originate in the northeast sky.

Meteoroids are created when asteroids smash into each other causing small pieces to break off.

In 2018, the peak night of this shower will be totally free of moonlight. Jupiter, Saturn and, last but not least, Mars will follow, sweeping in the east at about 11 p.m., 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. respectively.

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.

This weekend's show is expected to be particularly spectacular.

More than 100 shooting stars expected in weekend’s Perseid meteor shower peak