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"At best, they outburst from a normal rate between 80-100 meteors per hour to a few hundred per hour", he said. And yes, it's a cool astronomical occurrence to have a Perseid meteor shower happening, but this is not going to be the once in a lifetime opportunity you might have been reading about. Pull up a lawn chair, let your eyes adjust to the darkness for about 20 minutes to a half-hour outside, and look up.

The annual Perseids spectacle takes place each August, when the Earth passes through a cloud of debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, prompting ice and dust to burn up in the atmosphere. Focus your attention between the northeastern horizon and the point right above you; the meteors will fly at many different angles, but will all come from the approximate direction of the Perseus constellation.

At the peak of the Ursid meteor shower skywatchers can see, on average, around five to 10 shooting stars per hour but some years people have spotted up to 50 an hour.

To connect with your primeval ancestors this month, look to the sky.

She also revealed the exact time to view the upcoming meteor shower properly.

"They will be under the same circumstances we are in that the bright moon will wash out the sky", he continued.

"The Perseids can be seen from the end of July with one meteor an hour crossing the skies".

Last year's Preseids meteor shower event brought 250 spectators out to the observatory and the society expects the same number in attendance this year. The moon will be about three-quarters full then. Of course, the pesky moon will be in the way at that time, so you might want to check out the skies before midnight on both nights. The earth crosses this river between August 11 and 13 every year, so the meteors appear intensively during that period.

But don't despair. "T$3 he good news is that the Perseids are rich in fireballs; otherwise the moon would really mess with them", Cooke tells Lewin. The general rule when it comes to selecting your viewing spot is the darker, the better, so eagle-eyed stargazers should aim to venture away from the light pollution of towns and cities.

Good weather and clear skies will increase your chances of catching a good glimpse. However, he said, observers must be patient as activity will appear randomly in the sky, lighting up for a mere second or so.


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