Perseid meteor shower to peak over Canada this weekend


While a falling meteorite can be seen any night of the year, it's this weekend when the sky puts on a show as the Earth passes through the stream of the comet.

The shower is expected to peak on the night of Sunday August 12, though Saturday and Monday will also offer excellent views.

This month, our skies will be lit up with yet another celestial spectacle: the Perseid meteor shower, the shower NASA calls the 'best of the year'.

It's the biggest meteor shower of the year, so you better stay up late and grab your binoculars. That was most likely the Perseids.

The annual Perseid meteor shower happens when the Earth sweeps through dust that's left behind by a comet swift-tunnel, according to University of Manitoba instructor Danielle Pahud.

Meteor showers are typically visible with the naked eye, and so no special equipment is needed (Photo: Shutterstock)How regular will the meteors be? There are some occasional bursts of higher meteor activity, the next one being predicted in 2028.

The view is expected to be exceptional this year because the showers coincide with a new moon.

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"If you have seen a few of them you have seen them all", he said.

Forecasters expect the peak to occur the nights of August 11 and 12. As the cosmic junk - many the size of a grain of sand - enters the atmosphere, it burns up in a flash, appearing as "shooting stars" across the sky. But "Earthgrazer" meteors, which skim Earth's atmosphere and showcase long, blazing tails, are visible earlier when the radiant is low above the horizon.

The meteors originate from the constellation of Perseus, which gives it its name.

That is the million-dollar question of course. And conditions for viewing the meteors will be next to flawless this year. But for those who want to experience the meteor shower amped up to 11, getting to a "dark sky park" is an absolute must. Consequently, viewers are in for an especially bright show.

"Relax, be patient, and let your eyes adapt to the darkness", Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope senior editor said in a statement.

So if you're lucky enough to have a chance of catching the Perseid meteor shower, it sounds like you'll be in for a spectacular night of skywatching.