Meteor shower of the year coming up

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The Perseids are perhaps the most beloved of all meteor showers due to their predictability.

In the past, the Perseid showers have produced such spectacular displays that people swamped radio stations with reports of a mysterious light in the sky.

In addition, according to The Weather Network, the event is one of only three yearly meteor showers where up to 100 meteors per hour can be seen. But, keep your head up and eye to the sky, you might catch a glimpse of a few shooting stars in the days leading up to or days following the peak. This weekend (August 12-13th) marks the peak period to view the Perseids across all of North America.

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 comet has a 133-year orbit, last visiting our part of the solar system back in 1992 (hence the big meteor show back in the 90s).

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Meteors streak across the night sky during the Orionid meteor shower on October 23, 2016.

The Perseids appear to emanate from between the constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia, but to catch them there's really no need to worry about which direction you're looking. That's when the earth will have turned into the meteor stream, which means the show will be just above the horizon line.

According to Dr John Mason of the British Astronomical Association, the meteors will start to increase in activity between 10pm BST on August 12 and the predawn hours on August 13. Stargazers can expect to see 150-200 meteors an hour, complete with streaks and fireballs.

"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".

Unlike other celestial sightings that require a telescope or binoculars, the best way to watch a meteor shower is with the naked eye. Best of all, the slender waxing crescent moon will set at early evening, providing deliciously dark skies for this year's Perseid meteors.

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