The best meteor shower of the year peaks this weekend, and it could be better than usual.
The Perseid Meteor Shower comes around every August as Earth passes through debris left in the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Some years have had outbursts of up to 200 meteors per hour, but this year it's expected we see about 60 to 100 meteors per hour (about 1 or 2 per minute).
It may not be an "outburst" year, but what's special this time around is the moon. We'll have a new moon this weekend, which means the skies will be darker than usual, and we could see more of the fainter meteors that our eyes would miss under a bright moon.
Here's the breakdown:
WHEN: Peaks Saturday night and Sunday night (Aug. 11 & 12). Meteors may be visible any time after dark, but best viewing will be between midnight and 5 a.m.
WHERE: Face north and look up. The meteors tend to radiate from the constellation Perseus. Make sure you get as far away from city lights as you can. Your eyes usually take 20 to 30 minutes to fully adjust to the night sky.
SUNSET: 8:44 p.m.
MOONSET: 9:06 p.m. (Saturday night)
MOONRISE: 7:55 a.m. (Sunday morning)
Obviously, there is a 6-letter word that could spoil the whole thing for us: C-L-O-U-D-S.
Right now, partly cloudy skies are expected, and it does not look like rain this weekend. Temperatures should be in the low 70s around 11 p.m. Saturday night, and drop to the low to mid-60s by sunrise Sunday morning. We are still several days out, so we'll keep you updated on the forecast as we get closer.