Meteor shower with ‘double normal rates’ peaks on Thursday

Meteor shower with ‘double normal rates’ peaks on Thursday

(Jimmy Westlake, NASA)



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SPACE — It’s time again for the annual Perseid meteor shower, and this year’s show is supposed to be even more spectacular than previous years, according to NASA.

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

The International Meteor Organization also estimates there could be as many as 200 meteors an hour at the peak.

The KSL Weather Center forecasts partly cloudy conditions during the day, but the sky should clear up for great viewing at night in northern Utah.

NASA says the best viewing hours will be between midnight and dawn on Friday morning; just lie on your back and look straight up and enjoy the show. If you are not able to get to a nice, dark place or if it is cloudy for you that night, NASA is providing an online stream of the sky.

The meteors come from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered by astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace P. Tuttle in 1862. The comet orbits the sun once every 133 years, according to NASA.

“Here’s something to think about. The meteors you’ll see this year are from comet flybys that occurred hundreds if not thousands of years ago,” Cooke said. “And they’ve traveled billions of miles before their kamikaze run into Earth’s atmosphere.”

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Devon Dewey

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