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Spot A ‘Shooting Star’ This Week During The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower

Flickr.com/TuckerH586

The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower streaks across the nighttime sky this week and peaks early Saturday morning. Traditionally one of the best displays of the year, these fast and bright meteors are the result of the Earth passing through the debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle.

It truly is one of the best meteor showers of the year, but first time viewers could be disappointed. Here are a few tips to improve your Perseid Meteor Shower viewing.

Set Your Expectations

It would be amazing to see the sky filled with giant, slow burning meteors that light up the night. The Perseids, despite being the best shower of the year, aren’t like that. Think of it this way: don’t go in expecting a torrential downpour; instead it’s much more like a light, spring shower.

Dress Appropriately

Dress warmly. Yes, it’s August, but that doesn’t mean shorts and a flip flops. You’ll be outside in the middle of the night and it’s going to get cold. You’re going to want to bring a sweater, perhaps a jacket, and a few blankets to wrap up in.

Get Away From Ambient Light Sources

Everything from the street lights, your front porch light, and even the bright screen on your phone can take away from your viewing enjoyment. If you’re eyes have adjusted to the darkness and you look down at your iPhone screen to check email, your eyes will have to readjust again. Try and find somewhere nice and dark for best enjoyment.

Patience

As with nearly every aspect of astronomy, patience is the key. If you don’t see one in the first five minutes, don’t give up. Your eyes need at least 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Find a comfortable spot, pick a spot in the sky, and just watch.

It’s important to note that this year viewing in the evening will be hampered by the nearly full moon. Best viewing times will be after the moon sets early in the morning. So keep your back to the bright moon, look for the constellation Cassiopeia (the big ‘W’) and good luck!

More tips from Space.com.

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