Perseid meteor shower to peak next week


A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid meteor shower on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009 in Vinton, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The annual Perseid meteor shower has been ongoing for the past few weeks, and the peak will arrive early in the morning on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Unfortunately, the peak of the meteor showers will have to compete with the bright light of a nearly full moon this year. The moon won’t officially be full until Aug. 15, but it will still be around 95 percent illuminated on Aug. 13. The lunar glare will make it more difficult to spot the meteors.

It won’t be a bad idea to check out the meteor showers over the next several days even though the Perseids won’t technically be at their peak.

Moonset will come fairly early, with the moon setting around 2:15 a.m. on the Aug. 10, 3 a.m. on Aug. 11, and 3:50 a.m. on Aug. 12.

Once the moon has set, there will be less light for the meteor showers to compete with.

The best time to view the meteor showers will be in the early morning hours between moonset and dawn. Try to head away from city lights and look for an area with plenty of open sky.

The Persied meteor shower is an annual event, usually occurring from mid to late July into late August, when Earth crosses through debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle.

This debris moves into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a speed greater than 130,000 mph, which produces massive amounts of friction. The light that we see as a “shooting star” is the meteor burning up as it travels through the atmosphere. They are called the Perseids because the area that the meteors seem to originate from is near the constellation of Perseus. 

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