Meteor shower show in the night sky this week - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Meteor shower show in the night sky this week

(Source: NASA) (Source: NASA)
CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Every summer, late July to early August, Earth's orbit passes through the comet Swift–Tuttle's debris trail.  

The debris travels through the earth's atmosphere and burns up, some are visible to the naked eye as meteors or "shooting stars".  

The meteors are called Perseids because they seem to fly out of the constellation Perseus.

This year, astronomers believe that Jupiter's gravity is going to tug on the debris trail a little more bringing it closer to Earth; that means more debris, and in turn means more wishing on those shooting stars!

“Forecasters are predicting a Perseid outburst this year with double normal rates on the night of Aug. 11-12,” said Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environments Office in Huntsville, Alabama. “Under perfect conditions, rates could soar to 200 meteors per hour.”

But nothing comes easy, right?  The best way to see the Perseids is usually between 11 p.m. and midnight and then again at dawn.  So your best bet is late night August 11, or dawn on Friday, August 12.  If that's a school night or work night, there's an opportunity Friday, August 12 near midnight and Saturday morning, August 13 at dawn.

Don't get discouraged either after looking up for 10 minutes and not seeing anything, allow about 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and try to get away from city lights and buildings; Savannah or anywhere near a road with lamp lights is not conducive for seeing the sky show.

Our forecast those late nights does have the chance of partly cloudy skies, so if your neighborhood is just too cloudy, you can watch live on NASA via USTREAM overnight on Aug. 11-12 and Aug. 12-13, beginning at 10 p.m. EDT.

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