Perseid meteor shower: how to see shooting stars this weekend

Anyone who was disappointed by the brightness of the almost full moon obscuring the Perseid meteor shower a year ago will have a chance to turn their stargazing luck around this month.

Where are the best places to go to see the Perseid meteor shower? Shooting stars could happen every minute.

The Perseids are set to peak late Sunday, August 12 into the early morning of Monday, August 13, but the spectacle is already beginning to heat up in the dark, mostly moonless evenings.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs every year when the Earth passes through the dust and debris left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle, bringing pieces of the comet into the upper atmosphere that light up the sky as they burn up.

The phenomenon is caused by debris from the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet entering the Earth's atmosphere and burning up, appearing as bright streaks of light crossing the sky.

Every between mid-July and the last week of August the Earth approaches the comet's orbital path. Observers in mid-northern latitudes will have the best views.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be?

In 2018, the peak night of this shower will be totally free of moonlight.

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Travelling at a speedy 37 miles a second, they come from the direction of the constellation Perseus.

When is the Perseid meteor shower peak?

The best nights to follow the fall of such meteors will be 11th, 12th and 13th of August 2018.

"Even in towns or cities observed rates may still be around 10 to 20 an hour in the early morning hours when the radiant is high".

This year the shower is aided by the darkened August New Moon lunar phase.

"This is the meteor shower people view most because it occurs in the summer, when the nights are warm and comfortable, when you only have to worry about mosquitoes", Cooke told Space.com.

For optimal meteor-spotting chances be sure to stay away from bright lights and sources of urban pollution like street lamps, cars and buildings.

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