Science

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower

A shooting star from the Perseids flew over Hungary last year.

EPA/file 2013

A shooting star from the Perseids flew over Hungary last year.

Starting this week, stargazers can expect a show overhead.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, the undisputed “fireball champion” as NASA calls it, will return.

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A NASA team has determined that the Perseids produce more fireballs, explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak, than any other annual meteor shower.

Celestial timing will help people see more of the oldest meteor shower known to Earth, according to astronomers.

When should I watch?

The best time to watch would be overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning. The Perseids will peak at 3 a.m. on Thursday, according to astronomers.

Any viewing tips?

The best way to watch is to lie down and look up — no telescopes ne

Also, it’s best to find an area away from city or street lights.

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If the weather is good, expect one shooting star a minute, maybe more, said NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

I won’t be able to find a good viewing spot. What should I do?

NASA is broadcasting the Perseids from 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, until 2 a.m. Thursday.

What’s the weather going to be like?

The skies will be clear for an unusually large section of the United States, said Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters. Much of the East, Midwest and far West will be almost cloudless. But the forecast isn’t as nice for Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, Utah and Idaho.

Also, ‘‘because the moon is almost new and there’s no moonlight to mess with the show,’’ said NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke. The last time the Perseids peaked with little moonlight was 2007.

Why are the Perseids an annual event?

The meteor shower is the result of Earth passing through the debris zone of the comet Swift-Tuttle. This typically occurs Aug. 11-13.

Material from wire sources was used in this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the official time of the supermoon’s full phase.

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