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Watching the Perseid Meteor Shower 2012 This Weekend?

Pacific Palisades viewers should be able to observe around 80 "shooting stars" per hour during this year's Perseid Meteor Shower on Aug. 11-12. No telescope needed: Just lie back and watch the show.

 

The ongoing images from Mars aren't the only celestial event going on this weekend.

According to Astronomy.com, the Perseid Meteor shower has some added bonuses this year: It will occur on a night when the moon is in its waning crescent phase, which means the moonlight won't interfere with your view of the dashing meteors, and it's on a Saturday night, which means Pacific Palisades viewers can stay up late and sleep in the next day.

You don't even need a telescope. Just spread out a blanket, maybe a late-night picnic, lie back and enjoy! 

  • These meteors travel 37 miles per second!
  • The best time to view is after midnight.
  • The Perseid Meteors are cast-offs of the Swift-Tuttle comet, according to Space.com.
  • The shower began on July 23 and will peak the night of Aug. 11-12. 
  • Look toward the Perseus constellation, which forms an inverted "Y" shape and is in the northeast.
  • Some of the meteroids are as small as a grain of sand, but they have the kinetic energy of a nuclear bomb!
  • If you see a very slow, bright object sailing across the sky, it's either a satellite or a Space Station.   

Where to view:

  • You don't need a telescope to view this celestial event, so just head out to a dark spot.  
  • Away from city lights, so the further you get from town, the better your view will be. 
  • Allow your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness.

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