‘Best meteor shower of the year’ is upon us: How and when to watch

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Real Time Perseid from Sept. 8, 2018. Bright meteors and dark night skies made this year’s Perseid meteor shower a great time for a weekend campout. And while packing away their equipment, skygazers at a campsite in the mountains of southern Germany found at least one more reason to linger under the stars, witnessing this brief but colorful flash with their own eyes. Presented as a 50 frame gif, the two second long video was captured during the morning twilight of August 12. In real time it shows the development of the typical green train of a bright Perseid meteor. A much fainter Perseid is just visible farther to the right. Plowing through Earth’s atmosphere at 60 kilometers per second, Perseids are fast enough to excite the characteristic green emission of atomic oxygen at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so. Credit: Till Credner, AlltheSky.com

(KXAN) — Frequent and bright meteors flying through the sky are upon us thanks to the Perseid meteor shower, which will last through Aug. 24.

The meteors come from the comet known as 109P/Swift-Tuttle, which brings this meteor shower each summer. Swift-Tuttle orbits the sun every 133 years and was last in our inner solar system in 1992.

Each year the Earth goes around the sun, it passes through a dusty trail left behind from this comet. Those particles in the trail then collide with our atmosphere and disintegrate to create the beautiful meteor shower and fireballs that we see in the summer night sky.

The meteor shower, which began July 14 this year, is named after the constellation Perseus, which is the area in the sky the meteors appear to come from when looking from the Northern Hemisphere.

According to NASA, the Perseids meteor shower is known for the fireballs which “are large explosions of light and color that persist longer than an average meteor streak.” These fireballs come from some of the comet’s larger particles.

At its peak around the middle of August, you can see up to 100 meteors per hour, making it the “best meteor shower of the year,” NASA reports. The peak is expected around Aug. 11-13.

For the best viewing of the meteor shower, get away from buildings and city lights and look to the sky. Clear skies are key. While you can view the meteors as early as 10 p.m., the best viewing isn’t until the early morning hours between 2 a.m. and sunrise.

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