Perseid meteor shower to peak Aug. 12-13
Skywatchers will want to take advantage of clear night skies, warm temperatures and fewer mosquitoes - after this dry spell - because the peak days of the Perseid meteor shower arrive Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Perseids are considered the best meteor shower of the year, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported.
"With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently have long 'wakes' of light and color behind them as they streak through the Earth's atmosphere," NASA reported. "The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen per hour) and occurs with warm summer night-time weather, allowing skywatchers to easily view the shower.
The best time to see them is during the pre-dawn hours, but they can be seen as early as 10 p.m. Grab a blanket or lawn chair with feet facing northeast and look up. Allow eyes to adjust to the darkness at least 30 minutes. It's best to find an area well away from city or street lights, but city dwellers can take heart as meteors are visible from lawns in north Brainerd as well. Perseids are known for fireballs, larger explosions of light and color that NASA reported can persist longer than the average meteor streak. Fireballs are also brighter.
"Be patient - the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse," NASA reported.
The Perseids, so named because they come from the point in the sky where the constellation Perseus is located, are active from July 17 to Aug. 24.
Meteors come from leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids, NASA reported.
"When the comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them," NASA reported. "Every year the Earth passes through the debris trails, which allows the bits to collide with our atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky."